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Islanders Would Make Wrong Move By Signing Yashin

Over at RLD Hockey today, I wrote about how the New York Islanders’ would be going against their original plan set out by general manager Garth Snow if they were to go out and actually sign Alexei Yashin.

You can click here to read it or continue below:

Signing Yashin Would Go Against Isles’ Plan
By Patrick Hoffman

The Islanders have a plan in place. GM Garth Snow would be straying away from that plan if he opts to bring back Alexei Yashin.

It was reported last week by Yashin’s agent and the Islanders’ organization that Yashin and the Islanders were seriously considering an offer, an offer that has many going “huh?” This is especially true if you have been following Snow and the Islanders over the last few seasons.

While the Islanders have not been a terrific team over the last few seasons, they have been one that has been getting younger and more talented. Just look at these names: John Tavares, Kyle Okposo, Josh Bailey, Matt Moulson, Nino Niederreiter, Blake Comeau, Al Montoya, Michael Grabner, PA Parenteau, and now, Ryan Strome.

If you look at those names mentioned above, you will see one common theme: they are all YOUNG. Over the past few seasons, Snow has been stocking both his NHL and AHL cupboards with young and talented players. While it has not paid off in spades just yet, it could very well happen within the next three years or so.

With that said, if Snow goes ahead and signs Yashin, it will feel like the team has gone back to its old ways of signing players to ridiculous contracts; and in the long run, contracts that end up hurting rather than helping the team. If Yashin, whose buyout from 2007 is still on the Islanders payroll through 2015, gets signed to any sort of deal, this will end up hurting the organization.

First off, how much does Yashin have left in the tank? He will be 38 years old in November and has not played in the National Hockey League since the 2006-07 season. Not exactly a good combination to have success this upcoming season and into the future. Yashin has been on a steady downward slope, production wise, since a career-high 94 points in the 1998-99 season. With SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL last year, he only tallied 33 points in 52 games.

Additionally, if Yashin gets signed, who does he take the place of? If he takes the place of a youngster, that could hurt the said youngsters’ development in the long run. Is Snow really willing to do that?

Lastly, and more importantly, it would go against everything that Snow has tried to do since becoming the GM of the New York Islanders in July of 2006. The team has been getting younger and more talented since then.

If the club goes out and signs Yashin, that young and talented path might be in store for a bumpy ride.

Filed in: | Goal Line Report | Permalink
  Tags: alexei+yashin, new+york+islanders



I don’t get it either.

Tavares and Nielsen aren’t Kopitar/Richards or Richards/Dubinsky (let alone Crosby/Malkin) at center, but neither are they an embarassment as a 1-2. Yashin in his prime (let alone now) would have been worthless as a checking line player. His KHL numbers do nothing to suggest he could outperform Nielsen or Bailey offensively these days, plus Nielsen happens to be a rather excellent defensive forward, which Yashin is not.

Besides, do they really want an old, lazy, well, loser like Yashin in a locker room with a bunch of 22 year olds?

Posted by steviesteve on 07/26/11 at 03:03 PM ET


What makes anyone think Yashin would be signed to a ridiculous contract this time around? Last I checked Wang no longer takes point on contract negotiations and Snow has signed fair five year deals that are backloaded to keep his core salary structure in place.  Yashin may just be a relatively cheap signing to play wing with Bailey and Comeau so that players like Neidereitter and Strome are not rushed like Bailey was. KHL offensive numbers are almost meaningless. Yashin’s numbers are terrible by NHL standards, but he was in the top two on his team for 3 of the past 4 seasons, which is also meaningless.  His advancing age, fitness and defensive ability are all real concerns.

However, this was a team that had a fundamental lack of talent and prospects just five seasons ago and is still NOT going to sign a top line UFA.  Snow has built up the farm system so that he has those youngsters to develop in the first place. The Islanders have continued to carry one overaged player to reach the cap floor the past few years and this has not affected their ability to draft and retain the players they are developing. Last year it was Weight, prior to Weight it was Guerin. You can get younger, but you can still have a couple of cap floor salaries bloated with bonuses that doesn’t upset the contract structure of your core young players.

I think the optics of this deal would be terrible and great fodder for internet commenters to mock the Islanders. In the same token, it shows Snow will do what it takes to help the team even if it makes him look like an utter fool. That takes a certain amount of stones, but he has done a fair job picking up the likes of Streit, Moulson, PAP, Grabner, Montoya, Nabokov, Roloson, Wizniewski and letting Tambellini and Schremp walk when the experiment didn’t work out. As long as Tavares doesn’t start wearing a turtleneck what’s the harm? Yashin was jettisoned to try and retain of Ryan Smyth who has heart, but apparently only when he is in Edmonton so the whole heart thing is just perception.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 07/26/11 at 03:22 PM ET

Hootinani's avatar

“Islanders Would Make Wrong Move By Signing Yashin”

and the understatement of the year award goes to…....

Posted by Hootinani on 07/26/11 at 03:41 PM ET

EDJ's avatar

The problem is that the Islanders are still way under the cap and even by signing all their RFAs they might still be under the cap. They’re probably going to have to sign an older player with a contract loaded with “unreachable” bonuses to get over the cap.

Posted by EDJ on 07/26/11 at 05:30 PM ET

EDJ's avatar

Of course, I mean the cap floor.

Posted by EDJ on 07/26/11 at 05:30 PM ET


So would Yashin forfeit his buyout if he signed?  It would be a paradox worthy of tea and no tea if he both got paid to play and paid not to play at the same time.

Posted by Devils In The Details on 07/26/11 at 05:31 PM ET


Yashin’s buyout has no affect on any future contract. He would indeed be paid to go away and to come back at the same time.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 07/26/11 at 06:00 PM ET


@EDJ: They are not that far under. Nino will likely make the team and that adds 2.7 million in cap hit. So after Bailey & Comeau are signed it will likely only leave them $1 to 2 million short. There is no reason to believe they will make a stupid move just to make the floor. Giving McCabe a bonus laden contract still seems to make the most sense to me. Even if he doesn’t produce he would be a good influence on the young D.

Posted by Curt on 07/27/11 at 12:29 PM ET

EDJ's avatar


With Nino on board they’re still 7 million under the cap. I’m not sure how much Bailey and Comeau will go for, but you’re probably right that they’d be only a few million short. However, I didn’t say they needed to make a stupid move, just that they would probably sign an older player with bonuses. I didn’t think about who that player would be, I only thought that Yashin was a possibility. McCabe sounds like a good choice, but I think they already have enough defensemen and if they were to sign him somebody would have to go down to the minors or be traded.

Posted by EDJ on 07/27/11 at 04:05 PM ET

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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.

Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.

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