So we’ve had the first day of free agency “frenzy”, which saw quite a bit of Islander news, so I wanted to get down a few thoughts.
First, the resigning of Nabakov. I was happy to see this for one big reason. Yes, Nabby had some issues during the season and then in the playoffs, but the Isles were looking down the barrel of Poulin being the top goalie on the roster, so Nabby makes for a nice fallback plan. I’m not convinced this is how the season will start, but I think Garth Snow had to get this duck in a row, and then see what happened with the roster post free agency before looking to upgrade through a trade. I simply don’t think there was a free agent goalie out there that would have been an unquestioned upgrade on Nabby.
UFA signings: Regin and Bouchard.
I liked them both, with caveats. Regin isn’t a huge signing, but gives the team some depth, and replaces Aucoin in the bottom six, for a small price. Bouchard seems destined to be the latest wing to play on the first line, the Isles seasonal contract offer to a guy coming off a down season who is capable of more. I think he probably plays as well, if not better than, Boyes. Possibly close to the production they got from Parenteau, but maybe a better defensive player, which that line needs. I just wish we had a clear first line player in the wings who we could look forward to playing alongside JT for years. Will that be Strome, Nelson, or someone else not on the roster, or will Okposo or Bailey make that jump? It’s definitely a hole on the team, and slapping temporary fixes won’t get us where we want to go. That said, Bouchard isn’t the worst temporary fix.
RFA Travis Hamonic gets paid.
I like this. Having an up and comer like Hamonic locked down for seven years at a reasonable price is the way to build the base of this team!
Is there another move to come? Probably, but it will be late, after teams have figured out where they are headed and what they need to address in a trade, or one of Garth’s infamous waiver wire pick ups.
What do you think? Thoughts, opinions, predictions, etc. welcome in the comments.