With the announcement yesterday that Tim Thomas would be looking for a place to play when free agency opens on Friday, some wondered whether or not the Islanders would let him go.
Since he stayed away for the full season, even after being dealt to Long Island, the team could’ve decided to toll his contract and keep him an Islander this season. Both Arthur Staple of Newsday and Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos confirm the team will do no such thing and let him go to market.
If this sounds like a familiar situation for the GM Garth Snow and the Isles, it is.
When they acquired Evgeni Nabokov off re-entry waivers two seasons ago, he too refused to report and the team tolled his contract locking him into playing there the following season. It turned out to be a mutually beneficial arrangement as Nabokov wound up signing another deal with the team and led them to the playoffs this season.
The Flyers are hoping to keep one familiar face around next season.
Sam Carchidi of Philly.com reports the team is hoping they can bring back Simon Gagne next year. GM Paul Holmgren says that could be tricky though.
“We’ve had a couple of conversations with his agent, and we will continue to talk,” GM Paul Holmgren said on Monday. “We have interest in bringing him back, but limited cap space.”
Philadelphia re-acquired Gagne last season from the Los Angeles Kings and in 27 games with the Flyers he scored five goals and had six assists. At 33 years-old he’s not the dynamic scorer he once was in Philly, but he was useful in a depth role last season and picked up his game from how his time with the Kings ended.
Rick DiPietro is about to become an ex-Islander.
Arthur Staple of New York Newsday reports the Islanders will place the much-maligned goaltender on $100 waivers tomorrow for the express purpose of using a compliance buyout on him.
GM Garth Snow’s decision to buy out DiPietro will cost the Islanders $1.5 million per year for the next 16 years as he had eight years remaining on his deal, good for a total of $24 million. Seven years ago, DiPietro signed a 15-year, $67.5 million deal with the team, a deal that’s been panned ever since mostly due to DiPietro’s inability to stay healthy.
The Islanders were already in the market for a goaltender this summer and DiPietro never factored into their plans. Last season, he was sent to the AHL after passing through waivers unclaimed. There he found himself embroiled in some controversy after making comments to a local reporter who mistook his sarcasm for truth when he said the treatment by fans made him contemplate suicide.
DiPietro’s 15-year deal has only been matched in length by Ilya Kovalchuk’s deal with the New Jersey Devils. Now he sees his future in doubt and an ugly chapter to his career come to a close. It makes quite the fall from grace for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2000 NHL Draft.
Tampa Bay did a bit of housekeeping today and they’re keeping one of their tougher customers around.
Pierre-Cedric Labrie (aka: Nacho Labrie) re-signed with the team on a one-year, one-way deal.
Last season, Labrie played 19 games with the Lightning and had two goals and an assist to go with 30 penalty minutes. At 6’2″ 200-pounds, he tends to play even bigger than his size and functions as a rough customer.
He also talks a bit of a tough game as he did earlier this season when speaking about getting revenge on Philly’s Zac Rinaldo.
Oh yeah, and if you don’t understand the post title, you’ve got some Simpsons studying to do. That’s a paddlin’.
While New Jersey debates bringing back David Clarkson, they’re helping make sure some of their better depth doesn’t go away.
Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice reports the team has signed defenseman, and occasional fourth-line forward, Peter Harrold to a two-year deal worth $1.6 million.
Harrold was set to become an unrestricted free agent but now he’ll continue to serve as a faithful bottom-pair defenseman and occasional forward for coach Peter DeBoer. That now leaves Marek Zidlicky as the only potential free agent defenseman the Devils have left to try and retain.