New York Islanders Free Agency Day One Recap
By Christian Arnold (@CA_NYHockey)
At the NHL draft, the Islanders made moves to bolster their defensive corps in the long term, and on Monday they made moves to address the needs they have in the short term.
Isles GM Garth Snow went out and signed forwards Brad Boyes and Eric Boulton, and defenseman Matt Carkner. Below is a brief overview of the three new guys and notes on some of the players that left the Islanders via free agency.
The New Guys:
Boyes is a former 40 goal scorer that has something prove after several bad years in St. Louis and Buffalo. The 30-year-old forward put up just eight goals last season, while contributing 15 assists for a mere 23 points. The year before that he had only five goals and 14 points.
Boyes will definitely be another “reclamation project” as ESPN’s Scott Burnside put it. But with the Islanders’ recent history of re-igniting the careers of players that most people have written off, Boyes has a chance to join the ranks of Matt Moulson or PA Parenteau. Playing with Moulson and all-star John Tavares cannot hurt either.
While Boyes bring scoring potential, Carkner brings toughness and solid defensive skills. The 31-year old, 6’4, 237-pound defensemen played in just 29 games last season due to a knee injury and is remembered most from last season for igniting a brawl during Game 2 of the Ottawa Senators’ first round match up against the New York Rangers.
The signing at the very least should add a little flair to the six matchups between the Isles and Rangers, but the Carkner signing also addresses the Islanders’ lack of toughness they’ve had this past season.
The team’s former tough guys, Trevor Gillies and Michael Haley, were both allowed to leave. Both were looked at as merely one-dimensional players, whereas Carkner can protect the Isles’ star players while also contributing to the team on the defensive end.
Boulton fills a similar role as Carkner. He brings more toughness to a team that has lacked it. In 51 games for the New Jersey Devils, he did not have a single goal, assist or point. He has, however, racked up 1,265 penalty minutes in 11 NHL seasons.
He was not officially signed until this afternoon because he had to pass through waivers.
The Players Who Left:
The Islanders did lose three players yesterday as well. PA Parenteau, Dylan Reese, and Micheal Haley all signed elsewhere.
Parenteau signed a four-year, $16 million deal with the Colorado Avalanche. For fans it’s tough to see him go, because he was very productive last season with the Isles. But the price tag was too high for the Islanders and there is no guarantee he continues to play the way he did last season out in Colorado.
Another fan favorite, Haley, didn’t stray too far, signing with the New York Rangers on a two-year, two-way deal. Dylan Reese signed with his hometown Pittsburgh Penguins.