According to Tuesday’s Newsday, 14 NHL teams were scouting the Islanders-Flames game Monday evening to scout the Isles. 2 of the more prominent ones were Florida GM Rick Dudley who is quietly shopping Valeri Bure and members of the San Jose Sharks staff who have an unsigned 22-year-old dynamo defenseman in Brad Stuart and the rights to 26-year-old winger Alexander Korolyuk.
Mike Milbury named Dave Scatchard, Brad Isbister, Jason Wiemer, Claude Lapointe, Jason Blake and Steve Webb – the third and fourth lines, according to him – as those who need to play “better than they’re playing right now [or] we’re going to have to make some changes that are much more significant” than demoting two rookies. The Islanders earlier in the day demoted Justin Mapletoft and Raffi Torres, two of the harder working players in exchange for Mattias Weinhandl, Trent Hunter and Eric Manlow. Both Milbury and Laviolette said the move was to send a message and that the rookies did not deserve the demotion.
One NHL source surmised part of the reason the rookies were demoted was because veterans like Scatchard, Isbister and Jason Wiemer remain among Milbury’s most tradeable commodities. Scratching them only would diminish their value.
The Flames won 4-2 and Milbury promised that the demotion was a small rattling of the cage. The next move will be a lot larger. Can trades — or at least Bridgeport goalie Rick DiPietro — be far behind?