The New York Islanders signed three players on July 1st, including defenseman Matt Carkner. His addition to the Isles will bring a new element of physicality and toughness on the blue line.
A big and strong crease clearing defenseman has been lacking possibly since Andy Sutton was traded a few years ago to the Ottawa Senators. Carkner's grit and willingness to stick up for his teammates will certainly make the Islanders a tougher team to play against.
Carkner and I had a chance to talk on the phone yesterday to discuss what he's been up to this off-season, what happened on July 1st and what he plans on bringing to the table one he puts on the orange and blue sweater.
The Islanders announced today the defense prospect, Ty Wishart has re-signed with the club on a one-year, two-way contract for the 2012-2013 season.
UNIONDALE, NY (July 18, 2012) – The New York Islanders announced today that Ty Wishart has agreed to terms on a one-year, two-way deal for the 2012-13 season.
Wishart, 24, scored 19 points (five goals, 14 assists) with the Islanders’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, during his fourth professional season. The Belleville, ON, native also appeared in one National Hockey League game last year with the Islanders.
The talk amongst fans all last season was, "This team needs toughness." And indeed, far from embodying Zenon Konopka's "doormat-no-longer" declaration during the 2010-2011 season, the Islanders seemed to take a step back from that mentality this past year.
...What changes this year? Well, Garth Snow must have realized that this squad just does better when their best players aren't being knocked all over the ice, and signed up some tough customers to try and change the doormat-once-more mentality.
The New York Islanders were very active yesterday, acquiring three new players on the open market on the first day of NHL Free Agency. Forward Brad Boyes was signed to a one-year, $1 million deal and was soon followed by defenseman Matt Carkner's three-year contract worth $4.5 million.
Not long after these signings, former Islanders forward P.A. Parenteau inked a four-year, $16 million deal with the Colorado Avalance. Although many on twitter felt that the Isles could have easily afforded Parenteau's new contract, it still made plenty of sense to let him go. Four years for a 29 year old hockey player that only had one season worthy of top line honors and only two full seasons of NHL experience is a lot to commit too. In addition, Matt Moulson presently makes less per year than Parenteau's new contract. Moulson has been a consistent thirty goal scorer since joining the Islanders and has maintained chemistry with his long-time buddy, John Tavares. GM Garth Snow must have seen the risks in possibly off-setting the locker room if he showed that he felt Parenteau was more deserving a higher salary to go along with the other risk factors involved in that contract. With that being said, I wish Parenteau the best of luck and will look forward to seeing him return to Coliseum ice.
But in every difficulty lies an opportunity, and that is what Brad Boyes has been given.
The NHL fined the Isles last year $100,000 for the brawl game vs. the Pens, but the Pens did not get fined anything despite a player leaving the bench as a sixth skater to join a fight on the ice - which, by the way, means the head coach should be suspended for one game - he wasn't. But owner Mario Lemieux stated that the NHL didn't do enough to punish the Isles for that disgrace of a game.
Keep in mind that Matt Martin and Trevor Gillies received suspensions. They rightfully deserved them, and Godard got the 10 games required for leaving the bench, but the Penguins didn't receive any other suspensions or fines of any kind.
Lemieux, despite the one-sided disciplinary action, still felt that the league didn't do enough.