What will the Islanders do to replace Mark Streit?

sheldonsouray3.jpgWith Mark Streit out for the next six months for the Islanders after suffering a torn rotator cuff and torn labrum in his shoulder, the question now turns to what Isles GM Garth Snow will do to replace him on the roster. The Islanders present a fascinating situation for how to replace your best defenseman. They’ve got plenty of salary cap space if they want to trade for a big name/big salary guy who has run out of time or patience elsewhere but they’ve also got very young talent within the organization that, if they chose to, could let them get plenty of experience at the NHL level.

Who are the candidates to jump into the lineup for the Islanders? Let’s take a quick look through the names on our short list of candidates.

If the Isles are looking at a competing team to take one of their castoffs, the first name that has been mentioned all over the place is Edmonton’s Sheldon Souray. Unfortunately, not even the best of the rumor mongers can fight through the definitive answers that have been put out by everyone within the industry. Flat out, the Isles do not have interest in Sheldon Souray and Chris Botta of Islanders Point Blank tells why.

No, the Islanders are not going to add more than $10 million in salary over the next two years for Sheldon Souray, an excellent power play gunslinger who should not be mentioned in the same sentence as Streit when talking about 30-minute, all-zone defensemen. Picking up Souray’s tab makes little sense, and the still-rebuilding Islanders know that. Consider it a longshot that the Islanders make a claim even if the Oilers place Souray on re-entry waivers. If Souray was on the final year of his contract, maybe. But he’s not, so…Next!

Moving right along.

This would seem like an ample opportunity to have the Rangers talk to the Isles about Wade Redden or the Devils about Bryce Salvador, but why would those rivals of the Islanders do something to help them out and why would the Isles take on all that salary when they don’t have to?

If Souray’s contract is a no-go with two years left, there’s no chance that Redden would be considered when he’s got four years left on his gigantic deal. Even if the Rangers were to bring him back through on re-entry waivers, there’s no chance the Isles would even bite then with the Rangers eating half of his salary.

One player to keep in the back of your mind that the Islanders are familiar with is Marc-Andre Bergeron. Lyle Richardson of Spector’s Hockey makes mention of him as someone the Isles might take a look at. He can help reproduce the offensive production lost from not having Mark Streit around, but defensively he’s a bit of a nightmare.

andrewmacdonald1.jpgSo with these possible players from outside the organization getting looked at, the selection pool for replacements from within the organization is worth taking a look at as well. The name at the top of the list to get more time figures to be Andrew MacDonald. MacDonald has gotten some opportunities in the past with the Islanders, but never in an expanded role. He’s got a big shot from the point and plays an admirable kind of game.

Another name to keep in mind is the Islanders’ other 2009 first round pick Calvin de Haan. de Haan is just 19 years-old but he improved his game immensely last year in juniors and is doing well to hang in there in training camp. Mind you, the Islanders have yet to play a preseason game so it’s tough to gauge what he’s doing against his teammates in scrimmages, but he knows that the opportunity to make the team is there now with Streit out.

The Islanders have also brought Anders Eriksson into camp on a professional tryout, but if he’s their choice to help fill an empty position, fans in Long Island have reason to complain. Eriksson spent last year with the Rangers as a press box player. How Garth Snow handles how to replace Mark Streit will go a long way towards telling Islanders fans what he thinks of both the Isles system of players and the team’s chances of competing for a playoff spot are.

Going for a big name guy might sell it that they’re trying hard but it could ultimately backfire. Sticking with what you’ve got would give off the air of mailing in the season before it starts, but if that’s where the best fit comes from you can’t really hammer him over it. The best way to win over the court of public opinion is just win on the ice.

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    Oilers re-sign Pakarinen for one year

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    The Edmonton Oilers have given winger Iiro Pakarinen a one-year contract extension.

    From the release:

    Pakarinen just finished his third season with the Oilers organization, appearing in 14 regular season games in 2016-17, posting four points (2 goals, 2 assists).  The 25 year old forward missed 53 games due to an injury suffered during the pre-season. He appeared in one playoff game against the San Jose Sharks.

    The Oilers brought Pakarinen over from Finland in 2014. Since then, he’s split his North American career between the AHL and NHL while drawing praise for his versatility and hard-nosed style.

    Per CapFriendly, Pakarinen’s cap hit will be $750,000 in 2017-18. It’s a one-way deal.

    Market heating up for prized Czech d-man Rutta

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    Coming off an impressive performance for the Czech Republic at the World Hockey Championship, Jan Rutta is now being courted by a number of NHL clubs.

    Per The Athletic, the Blackhawks are in contention for securing Rutta’s services. That comes on the heels of earlier reports from TSN’s Darren Dreger, who said there are “multiple” offers for the 26-year-old, including ones from Edmonton and Calgary.

    “He’s a steady defenseman with size, and he had a strong finish of the season,” an NHL scout told The Athletic. “He was very good in the playoffs and played his best at the Worlds.”

    Rutta, who was never drafted by an NHL club, has spent his professional career with Czech League outfit Pirati Chomutov. He’s blossomed into a talented offensive defenseman — finishing second among Czech League d-men with 32 points in 46 games this year — and, as mentioned above, has good size at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds.

    Last week, Rutta’s agent — longtime Octagon Hockey representative Allan Walsh — tweeted that his client would make a decision on NHL offers soon.

     

    Sharks keep stockpiling European free agents, land Sandberg

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    Doug Wilson is at it again.

    On Thursday, the Sharks GM confirmed yesterday’s news — the signing of Czech d-man Radim Simek — and announced that Swedish forward Filip Sandberg had agreed to a two-year deal.

    “Filip is a very creative player who sees the ice well and can create offense in limited space,” Wilson said in a release. “He plays a high-pressure, puck-pursuit game and his battle level is something we have been impressed with, especially against older players.

    “We are excited for him to join our organization.”

    Sandberg, 22, is fresh off a Swedish League title with HV71. The club announced Sandberg would be headed overseas last week, but didn’t divulge what team had signed him.

    It wasn’t surprising NHL clubs had interest. Sandberg had a good offensive campaign in Sweden, scoring 25 points in 52 regular season games, then broke out for six goals and 14 points in 16 playoff contests.

    Prior to this year, Sandberg twice represented Sweden at the World Juniors, including the 2013 tournament where the country won silver. He finished with two goals in six games playing alongside the likes of Filip Forsberg, Viktor Arvidsson, Elias Lindholm and Victor Rask.

    As for Simek, he inked a one-year deal.

    “Radim is a quick transition defenseman who drives the play offensively and plays with a physical edge,” said Wilson. “We like his offensive instincts especially on special teams and think his game will translate well in North America.”

    Simek just finished representing his native Czech Republic at the World Hockey Championship, where he had two points in eight games.

    According to a report from Radio Praha, the Sharks beat out the Rangers to acquire Simek. Passed over in his draft year, the 24-year-old has spent his entire pro career with Liberec Bili Tygri.

    As mentioned above, Wilson has done well finding European skaters in their early-to-mid-20s, ones that can contribute right away at the NHL level: Melker Karlsson, Joonas Donskoi and Marcus Sorensen, most specifically.

    The hope now is that Simek and Sandberg will continue that trend.

    Avs dismiss three from coaching staff, but Bednar remains

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    Colorado GM Joe Sakic said there would be turnover this offseason, but that head coach Jared Bednar was safe.

    On Tuesday, Sakic followed through.

    The Avs have parted ways with two of Bednar’s assistants — Tim Army and Dave Farrish — and also relieved goalie coach Francois Allaire of his duties.

    Army, 54, has been with the club for the last six years, having previously served as the head coach at Providence. He served under three different head coaches in Colorado — Bednar, Patrick Roy and Joe Sacco — and was largely tasked with running the team’s power play (which finished 30th in the NHL this year).

    Farrish, 60, just wrapped his second year on the job with the Avs after coming over from Toronto. A veteran of nearly 30 years in coaching, Farrish was brought aboard by Roy, and brought “a wealth of experience and hockey knowledge to our organization.” A journeyman blueliner who playecd 430 games at the NHL level, Farrish ran the club’s defense last season.

    Allaire, 57, has been coaching goalies at the NHL level for over 25 years, with previous stops in Montreal, Anaheim and Toronto. His ties to Roy ran deep — he mentored the former Avs coach with the Canadiens, and the pair won two Stanley Cups together (in 1986 and ’93). Allaire has been with the Avs for the last four years, on the heels of an acrimonious departure from Toronto.

    Today’s shakeup is a significant one, but it didn’t come out of nowhere. Bednar was essentially forced into retaining all of Roy’s staff following the latter’s shock resignation last August, and probably wants to bring in some of his own guys.

    Sakic, meanwhile, had to make some sort of changes after the worst regular season in franchise history — and today’s could just be the tip of the iceberg.

    Related: Avs president gives Sakic vote of confidence