The New York Islanders have nothing to lose in this upcoming season. While plenty of teams mired in the top ten of the 2014 NHL draft must look to the safest, surest way to rebuild their roster for next year and beyond, the Islanders have little such luxury thanks to their forfeiture of next year’s first round pick (AKA their ticket in the Connor McDavid Lottery). Instead of worrying about what a decent record might do to those chances, Islanders GM Garth Snow is doing everything he can to make the Islanders as strong as possible for the 2014-15 season.
Pro Hockey Talk writes that “Snow is reportedly working the phones hard” to begin the new UFA period in the NHL. Instead of July 1 being the cutoff date for all contact with free agents, teams can now freely call and solicit UFAs in the week leading up to the July 1 date that commences free agency. Once July 1 hits, teams can sign players. The Islanders tried their luck with Dan Boyle and that appears to have backfired. Hardly perturbed, Garth Snow is now reportedly after another pair of veterans.
#Isles have been working the phones since 12:01 AM to touch base with numerous FAs, Matt Niskanen and Brad Richards believed among them.
— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) June 25, 2014
Matt Niskanen is quickly becoming the gem of the defensemen crop in free agency this year, so good luck getting him. Brad Richards might be a nice option for the Islanders — especially if Richards doesn’t want to move from the New York area.
Even people less plugged into the Isles had something to say about Snow’s moves.
— Chris Nichols (@NicholsOnHockey) June 22, 2014
One way or another, Garth Snow is hell-bent on improving the Islanders for the immediate future. There’s no concern about being stuck in the purgatorial middle of the draft next year because the team has no first round pick. Instead, Snow can worry about getting good players and fitting them in the $27 million worth of cap space that the team currently bears. If they can’t get one guy, it appears they’ll move right on to the next.