Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 06/26/06 at 10:29 AM ET
Now that the future is in place, Smith and Nolan can direct their attention to the present. Decisions must be made on qualifying restricted free agents such as Arron Asham, John Erskine, Eric Godard, Trent Hunter, Mike York and Rick DiPietro. It is possible Smith might let one or two walk to create room on the roster for players he and Nolan want. DiPietro's agent, Paul Krepelka, already has begun preliminary negotiations for a long-term contract. DiPietro is eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2008. He maintains that he wants to be an Islander for the rest of his career. Meanwhile, in five days, Smith will go back into the free-agent party he used to crash as Rangers GM. He joked about still having "post-traumatic stress disorder" from those free-spending days working for the Garden, throwing money at all of the top free agents available while small-market teams had no chance to compete. "I felt like I was going to the execution every year, like, 'Boy are they gonna hate me tomorrow,'" Smith saidread on
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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.
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