Seeing the Islanders and Devils complete a trade the way they did yesterday seeing the Islanders send Trent Hunter to New Jersey was a random shot out of the blue. Two rivals making deals with each other, even out of salary floor/salary cap convenience, doesn’t happen all the time.
For the Islanders, they needed to add salary to get themselves at or above the payroll floor and while adding Rolston’s salary helps them close in on that mark, they’ve still got some work left to do. CapGeek says they’re just over $5 million away from reaching the floor so there are other moves yet to be made. While the rumors of the Isles re-interest in Alexei Yashin will persist, Chris Botta of Islanders Point Blank says that there’s another “big” move on the horizon.
Another hockey move is on the way. For what it’s worth, we were also told that we’re going to like this one. In our view, it’s the only way spending $3 million on Brian Rolston instead of somebody younger and better makes sense.
All right, so it’s a hockey move that Isles fans will like and justifies bringing in a guy whose production has fallen off the map the last three years. So that means it’s not Yashin, right?
So let’s get our speculating shoes on. The Isles have a need on defense for someone who can plug in and help give Mark Streit help along the blue line. It’d be reasonable to expect that the Isles would be in the hunt for a defenseman. As for who that might be, your guess is as good as ours. If you judge just based on salary cap numbers at the moment, perhaps the Isles putting in a call to the Sabres to snag Shaone Morrisonn would work out. The Sabres need to cut cash and Morrisonn is making just over $2 million against the cap next season.
That wouldn’t be a move that Isles fans would find exciting, however. That is unless Isles fans find fourth or fifth defensemen to be spine-tingling. If that was the case though, they’d just ride it out with what they have. While the Isles still have to work things out yet with restricted free agent Blake Comeau, you have to wonder if maybe they’re looking for another forward.
This would be where we’d point out how the Washington Capitals are over the cap ever so slightly and how there’s a certain goal-scoring Russian winger making $6.7 million against the cap next season that would give them an offensive lift and help put them well above the salary floor. That wouldn’t make too much sense for the Caps to do that, however, unless they were getting something helpful in return to balance their offense.
As it is, we’ll have to wait things out to see just what the Isles have planned to be crowd-pleasers. Don’t be surprised that if they’ve got a move to make that it happens ahead of the August 1 referendum vote on whether or not to approve building a new Nassau Coliseum. Making a big splash ahead of that would be a good way to show voters who may be ambivalent about voting to get to the polls and support the movement. Here’s to hoping that Alexei Yashin isn’t the guy jumping out of the celebratory cake for that purpose.