Goaltender Anders Nilsson, who left the New York Islanders as a restricted free agent to sign with Ak Bars Kazan of the KHL, could be headed back to North America.
According to Igor Eronko, Nilsson refused to sign an extension with the KHL club.
The Chicago Blackhawks own Nilsson’s rights after the Islanders dealt him as part of the Nick Leddy trade in October.
In 38 regular season KHL games, Nilsson posted a 20-9-8 record to go along with a 1.71 G.A.A. and a .936 save percentage.
The 25-year-old left the Islanders following the 2013-14 season after New York refused to meet his demands of a one-year contract.
Nilsson was not interested in spending another year in the American Hockey League.
“I have done for three years in the AHL and I do not think it would be good for my development to play a fourth year in the AHL,” Nilsson in April 2014. “That’s what I’ve said to them, since we have not started to go into contract negotiations.”
Nilsson appeared in 23 games for the Islanders over two seasons posting a 9-9-2 record to go along with a 3.05 G.A.A. and a .898 percentage.
Newly acquired Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy is excited to begin the next chapter of his career.
Neil Sheehy, the agent for Leddy, released the following statement Saturday evening:
“Nick Leddy loves Chicago, yet he is a young player, who will fit in with the young players the NYI have assembled and he is excited to be a part of their core group as the team moves to Brooklyn next year.” (via Brian Sandalow)
Leddy along with goaltender Kent Simpson was dealt from the Blackhawks to the Islanders for prospects Anders Nilsson, Ville Pokka and T.J. Brennan.
The trade leaves the Blackhawks, who were up against the cap, with roughly $1.5 million in cap space per CapGeek.
In a separate move, the Islanders acquired defenseman Johnny Boychuk from the Boston Bruins.
Some big news on the free agent goaltending front — the Islanders are reportedly working on a deal to get Jaroslav Halak out of Washington, per TSN’s Bob McKenzie.
The deal would give the Isles Halak’s negotiating rights and a head start on hammering out a deal, as Halak’s set to become an unrestricted free agent in July. The 28-year-old is in the last of a four-year, $15 million deal and has changed addresses frequently this season, starting with St. Louis before moving to Buffalo as part of the Ryan Miller deal, then moving from Buffalo to Washington in exchange for Michal Neuvirth.
Despite all that movement, Halak compiled a good year statistically — 29-13-10, .921 save percentage, 2.25 GAA, five shutouts — though his time as a Capital ended badly after head coach Adam Oates suggested Halak asked out of a key start against his former Blues team, which led to friction between player and club (and agent).
As for the Islanders, this move would make a lot of sense as they currently don’t have any of their three goalies — Evgeni Nabokov, Anders Nilsson or Kevin Poulin — under contract for next season. Nabokov’s time on Long Island appears over and, yesterday, reports surfaced that Nilsson was contemplating a move to play in Europe.
Update: Done deal, per the Washington Post — Halak’s rights go to the Islanders in exchange for a fourth-round pick at this year’s NHL Entry Draft.
Update 2: Sounds like negotiations have already begun…