Islanders Off Season Plans
The Islanders are comming off of what could considered a disapoinitng campaign, and with the labor uncertanity it can be said that a few veteran players with big contracts who didn’t step up could be gone.
It has been said that these players will not be resigned by the Islanders such as veteran Garth Snow, who was signed to a one year deal last summer along with 22 year old Rick DiPietro, but considering on Snow’s age and his probable contract demands, it seems like he could be the odd man out and Wade Dublelwicz, the AHL Rookie of the year, will be DiPietro’s backup. Free Agent pickup from the scrapheap, Mariusz Czerkawski will likely be forced off the Island again after fueding with coach Steve Stirling after his unbelivable start to the season. Another forgot soul, Cliff Ronning most likely will not be resigned because the Islanders would like to increase Justin Papinaeu’s ice team and bring up Justin Mapletoft from Brigeport, but he should get signed by another team as a PP specialist. Former All-Star Roman Hamrlik’s contract demands will likely be too great for the Islanders considering that Janne Niinimaa and Adrian Aucoin both must be resigned. A favorite of former coach Peter Laviolette, Shawn Bates is likely out and headed on down to Carolina. And playoff Scapegoat Eric Cairns will not be resigned so that Tomi Pettinen and Bruno Geravis can compete for the roster spots.
However, Mike Millbury would like to soldify a top line by bringing Tony Amonte and Paul Kariya, who could come relativly cheap with the years they have had, to play alongside 2001 draft trade bust Alexei Yashin. Criag Conroy is a big target to replace Shawn Bates’ penalty killing skill and be paired with Mike Peca and Mark Parrish. To top off the list of maybe’s Alexei Zhitnik would like to be closer to New York City, so the Islanders have some competition with the free spending Rangers, but sources have indicated to Newsday’s Alan Hahn that the Islanders and the Sabres are his top 2 choices.
It is possible the Islanders could walk away from Adrian Aucoin’s arbitration decesion and keep Hamrlik if his salary is set at above 5.5 million. Millbury wants Kariya and Amonte to make a top line with Yashin and move Oleg Kvasha to Center where he thrived durring Yashin’s injury. The Islanders are considering buying out Yashin next season depending on the CBA. They are seriously considering trading up to take Brampton forward Wolket Wolsky in this month’s draft