New York Islanders Make Small Moves Early in Free Agency
When free agency began, it was thought the New York Islanders would look to make a big splash, whether it be on the open market, or via a trade. However, neither happened as the Isles completed just minor moves to help fill out its roster.
In the first few hours of free agency, the Isles made their first move. Rather than bringing back P.A. Parenteau, the 67-point man, who eventually signed with the Colorado Avalanche, they brought in Brad Boyes on a one-year deal. This move ultimately save the Islanders $15 million as Parenteau’s deal in Colorado is worth $16 million over four years, while Boyes’ deal is a mere $1 million.
Not bad for a a guy they expect to play on the top line with John Tavares and Matt Moulson.
The 30-year-old has had a few down years with the Buffalo Sabres, which includes just producing 23 points last season. However, he was likely lured to Long Island by former teammate and current Islanders Senior Advisor to the General Manager and assistant coach Doug Weight.
The two played together in St. Louis from 2007-2009. During that span, Boyes accumulated 137 points.
“I watched Brad score 43 and 33 goals in consecutive years,” Weight said. “I don’t care if you played in 1920 or 2012, 43 goals in this league is amazing. He was our best player in those two years in St. Louis.”
Rather than chasing the Alex Semin’s and Zach Parise’s of the world, Islanders general manager Garth Snow hopes that Boyes will prove the same amount of value at a much lesser cost.
Shortly after that signing, the Isles brought in some grit and toughness to their defensive unit. The team bolstered its blueline by signing hard-hitting Matt Carkner to a three-year deal.
Carker stands 6’4″ and 237 pounds, and isn’t afraid to throw his weight around. He’s racked up 361 penalty minutes in his five-year NHL career and knows that’s the main reason he was brought to Long Island. The defensive enforcer role will increase his ice time from a year ago.
“That’s a big factor,” Carkner said. “I was seeing my ice time kind of diminish in Ottawa, with a different coach coming in and a different style of play. I was coming off an injury as well. It just took me a while to get back to where I was, and that’s just kind of how it fell into place. I was happy to see what my options were and I think that I will fit in real well in New York with the Islanders. I am pretty excited to get a spot here.”
The 31-year-old defenseman is expected to protect his teammates on the ice, as well as be a key to their penalty killing unit. The Isles then made one more move to add toughness to their squad.
They signed Eric Boulton to a one-year deal. Boulton has made it clear to the league that he is never afraid to drop the gloves, and has averaged more than two penalty minutes per game in his career. Thus far in this 11-year career, Boulton has amassed 1,265 penalty minutes. He is looking forward to his role with the team.
“I think on a young team it’s definitely important having the veteran leadership that I hope to bring,” Boulton said. “It’s important to take care of the young guys on and off the ice and make sure they can play their game, and just be out there to protect them and bring that physical element to the team.”
Coming from New Jersey, he knows the bad blood all the teams in the Atlantic Division share. He knows the toughness he’ll need to bring in games versus the division rivals.
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