Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Draft Reflection; Free Agency Day 2

In the days leading up to the draft, Garth Snow was already being lauded for his handling of the first selection. By not tipping his hand at all, he was keeping the Islanders squarely in the spotlight league-wide, while simultaneously piquing the interest of the fan base. Upon converting the tap-in of actually selecting Tavares, Snow has continued to receive praise.

In the end, the most important thing is that John Tavares ended up in an Islanders uniform. But Snow's approach to selecting the sorely needed goal scorer does carry at least one potential negative consequence. By allowing Matt Duchene and Victor Hedman to be 1B and 1C to Tavares' 1A, Snow has inextricably linked the three players in the minds of many fans. These fans will be following the careers of Duchene and Hedman the same way they follow Luongo, Gaborik, Spezza, Heatley, and every other could've-should've-been.

Indeed, when you weigh it, it's a small risk for the crowning moment the Islanders were able to orchestrate on the evening of June 26th. 10,000 fans roaring their approval isn't often achieved in June. And the solution to all that could ill? Tavares goes out and pots 40 a year for at least the next decade. How hard could that be?

The great thing about the draft being over is that it's finally starting to feel like Tavares is really an Islander. Even if you were 100% sure that the Islanders would draft him, there was something uncomfortable about the relationship, fostered no doubt by members of the media intent on making it uncomfortable. But there was a sense that even if the Islanders drafted Tavares, he wouldn't really be theirs. At best, he was a loaner, conscripted to Uniondale according to the rules.

Now, that feeling has completely drained away. What remains is a potential star for Islanders fans to enjoy free from paranoia about Tavares bolting, snowballing, or blowing away like a leaf.

****

On day 2 of the 2009 free agency period the Islanders have focused on organizational depth. The newest Islanders/Sound Tigers are goalie Scott Munroe, left wing Jeremy Reich, and defenseman Brett Westgarth. Details provided by the team:

Munroe, an undrafted goalie from Moose Jaw, SASK, has been a part of the Philadelphia Flyers organization for the past four seasons. He received his first call-up to the National Hockey League last year with the Flyers. The 27-year-old net-minder posted a career year last season with a record of 31-19-0-4, a save percentage of .926 and four shutouts. Munroe led the Phantoms to the Calder Cup Playoffs in each of the past two seasons. During the 2008 Calder Cup Playoffs, Munroe made 65 saves in a five overtime contest against the Albany River Rats to earn the victory in the longest game in American Hockey League history.

Reich has played in a total of 99 NHL games scoring two goals and four assists while compiling 161 penalty minutes. The Craik, SASK native has been a part of the Boston Bruins organization for the past three years and played under Islanders head coach Scott Gordon his first two seasons with the team’s AHL affiliate, the Providence Bruins. Last season, the 6-1, 196 pound left wing, served as the team captain of Providence, setting single-season career high numbers of 21 goals and 13 assists for 34 points in 76 games. Reich was originally drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in the second round (39th overall)of the 1997 NHL Entry Draft.


Westgarth played the last three seasons in the AHL. Last year, the 6-2, 215 pound defenseman played for the Worcester Sharks, AHL affiliate of the San Jose Sharks, scoring nine points (2 goals and 7 assists) while totaling 137 penalty minutes. Westgarth, a native of Amhertsburg, ON, is a Princeton University graduate who skated for the Tigers from 2002-2007 where he compiled four goals and 20 assists for 24 points.

1 comment:

Okposo Island said...

What do you make of these goalie moves and the team's current goaltending situation (or as I call it... "used goalies, tall goalies, old goalies, bruised goalies")?