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Category: New-York-Islanders

The New York Islanders Without John Tavares

from Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post,

Now what?

That is the question that is plaguing the Islanders in the aftermath of their captain and franchise cornerstone, John Tavares, leaving to sign a free-agent deal with his hometown Maple Leafs this summer. With a new team president in Lou Lamoriello and a new head coach in Barry Trotz, the team has established a new identity. Both have a history of winning, which the Islanders have lacked in the past three decades.

But the on-ice product is still something that is very much in flux. The questions abound with a team that might or might not be in the middle of a rebuild.

1. How to replace Tavares?

There is no way to fill the space left by a player who was a two-time Hart Trophy finalist. Lamoriello did what he could in filling roster spots with players who he considered “high-character,” but that hardly makes up for talent.

continued

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Robin Lehner Facing His Issues

from Robin Lehner at The Atheltic,

The Meadows in Arizona helped map out my life and it was something I never had the courage to do. I always just suppressed things with substances, impulsive thoughts and behavior. The therapists went through my whole life and opened my eyes to what truly happened. For truly the first time, I found religion. I was baptized in Arizona during this time. This new faith is what helped me through. This was truly one of the best things that ever happened to me and I have to thank Pastor Greg for that.

Today, I am here a happy man that is, for the first time, trying to live in the moment, day-to-day.

The only way I was leaving those doors was when I was 100% certain that I was going to make it. I never want to make my family go through anything like that again. They deserve a dad and my wife, a real husband. If I felt I could not give them that, I wanted to die. I could not let happen what I did to my wife again. There was never domestic violence but the mental suffering over the years watching her husband killing himself slowly was brutal. When I was away, she was never sure I was going to come home.

more (paid subscription)...

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Questions Regarding The New York Islanders

from Andrew Gross of Newsday,

So, will the offseason ultimately be judged a good or bad one?

Does importing Lamoriello, who won three Stanley Cups with the Devils, from the Maple Leafs and Cup-winning coach Barry Trotz from the Capitals outweigh John Tavares’ messy departure to Toronto?

Did Lamoriello overreact to Tavares’ joining his hometown team by bringing in too many bottom-six forwards? Is Mathew Barzal, entering his second NHL season after winning the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie, ready to take over as a No. 1 center and face of the franchise?

Will Robin Lehner, the ex-Sabre signed as a free agent, be an adequate upgrade as a No. 1 goalie?

And what about the defense corps, which lost Calvin de Haan and long-in-the-tooth Dennis Seidenberg but has, so far, gone without any additions? After all, the Islanders did allow an NHL-worst 293 goals last season.

more

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Afternoon Line- John Tavares

I know there will still be some people who feel I should have been traded — or asked for a trade at the deadline. (I respectfully disagree. I was Captain of the team, and I took that role seriously. My focus was on staying in the moment, and doing everything I could to help the Islanders win.) I also know there will still be some people who think I strung everyone along, throughout my free agency, just to get attention. (I didn’t … and if you know me, this one’s pretty funny.) And I for sure know there will still be some people who think I signed a wink-wink contract with the Maples Leafs, in secret, on Christmas morning of 1997. (Not true, though for the record I would have if they’d offered.)

And I guess what I just wanted to say is: that’s fine.

I don’t even mind at all. I really, truly do understand it. I get the passion, and I get the emotion, and I get the competitiveness and the obsessiveness and I get … all of that. It’s like I said, you know: I’ve been a fan since before I was three years old. I’ve been there.

But it’s also important to me that I don’t sell anyone short, here. It’s why I wanted to write this letter in the first place: so that all of you Islanders Faithful really do know how much I cherished our time together. Because I was born in Toronto — and that’s never going to change. But I grew up on Long Island — and now that won’t change, either.

-John Tavares of the Toronto Maple Leafs at The Players' Tribune.  Read much more from Tavares.

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It’s Plan B For The New York Islanders

from Michael Traikos of the National Post,

... But for GM Lou Lamoriello, who went from Toronto to New York ostensibly to try to convince Tavares to stay, losing his star centre wasn’t emotional — it just a part of the business.

“John is with another team right now and this is no different than when a trade transpires,” Lamoriello said in a phone interview on Friday night. “The only difference here is we certainly wanted John to stay. It’s obvious we did everything we could to convince him of that. It was his right to make any decision he wanted and we respect that. He was honest and upfront in that process.

“You don’t look back. You don’t complain. You just go forward.”

And so, it’s on to Plan B. And no, the “B” does not stand for “bottoming out.”

read on and some Leafs talk too...

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Evening Line- Daren Millard

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Robin Lehner Joins The New York Islanders

from the New York Islanders,

The New York Islanders announced today that goaltender Robin Lehner agreed to terms on a one-year contract. 

Lehner, 27, posted a 3.01 goals-against average with a .908 save percentage in 53 games with the Buffalo Sabres last season. A native of Gothenburg, Sweden, Lehner's NHL career totals feature a 2.82 goals-against average and .915 save percentage in 219 games with Buffalo and the Ottawa Senators. 

Ottawa selected Lehner in the second round (46th overall) of the 2009 NHL Draft. He spent parts of four seasons with the Binghamton Senators of the American Hockey League and was named Playoff MVP after leading Binghamton to the 2011 Calder Cup Championship. Lehner posted a career year the following season, highlighted by an AHL-leading .938 save percentage and career-marks in wins (18) and goals-against average (2.12).  

continued

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The New York Islanders Acquire Matt Martin From The Toronto Maple Leafs

from the New York Islanders.

The New York Islanders have acquired forward Matt Martin from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for goaltender Eamon McAdam.

Martin, 29, spent the last two seasons with the Maple Leafs, accumulating 21 points (eight goals and 13 assists) and 183 penalty minutes in 132 games. He was also chosen as Toronto's nominee for the King Clancy Award, given to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community. The Windsor, ON, native began his career with the Islanders, playing seven seasons with the team that selected him in the fifth round (148th overall) of the 2008 NHL Draft. 

continued

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Now What NYI?

from Andrew Gross of Newsday,

The Islanders need a No. 1 goalie. After allowing an NHL-high 293 goals, they need to shore up their defense corps even after re-signing valuable Thomas Hickey.

Plus, with Tavares off to Toronto, the Islanders suddenly are short an experienced No. 1 center, let alone a captain.

The Islanders have more than $20 million in salary-cap space after dipping into free agency to sign bottom-six forwards Tom Kuhnhackl (Penguins), Leo Komarov (Maple Leafs) and Valtteri Filppula (Flyers).

Calvin de Haan, selected 12th overall by the Islanders in 2009, likely is the most attractive defenseman still available as a free agent and has attracted plenty of attention. A shoulder injury limited him to 33 games with the Islanders last season. He would be valuable to them in a top-four role, but the expectation is he will sign elsewhere.

more

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Forward Thinking For The New York Islanders

from Brian Compton of NHL.com

So where do the Islanders go from here? How do they pick themselves up and dust themselves off? After all, it's hard to envision they're going to sit back following the hires of Lamoriello and coach Barry Trotz.

Here are four things the Islanders can do before the 2018-19 season begins at the Carolina Hurricanes on Oct. 4.

Find a No. 1 goalie -- They weren't expected to re-sign Jaroslav Halak, who became an unrestricted free agent and signed a two-year, $5.5 million contract with the Boston Bruins on Sunday, but his departure leaves a hole the Islanders must fill after allowing an NHL-high 293 goals last season. Thomas Greiss still has two seasons remaining on his contract, but he's yet to prove he can be a No. 1 goalie. Names including Craig Anderson (Ottawa Senators) and Jimmy Howard (Detroit Red Wings) have been reported as potential trade targets, so the Islanders will be working the phones with hopes of shoring up the goaltending.

more

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

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