Kukla's Korner Hockey

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Islanders remain logistically disadvantaged

06/27/2016 at 12:56am EDT

The New York Post's Larry Brooks discusses the potential fates of more than a few free agents in his Sunday night Slap Shots column, but his focus involves the New York Islanders, who may not be able to retain Frans Nielsen, Kyle Okposo, Matt Martin, or, Brooks fears, many free agents going forward:

What’s even worse for the Islanders — who may also lose fourth-line crusher Matt Martin to free agency — is the constant echo reverberating throughout the industry that the unwieldy logistics created by the franchise’s attempt to straddle Brooklyn and Long Island will discourage prime free agents from enlisting.

You should know that those holding that opinion have absolutely no ax to grind with the Islanders. Indeed, several people who took that position over the weekend have nothing but positive things to say about Jon Ledecky and the incoming ownership.

Plus, one agent with a marquee stable of players has told Slap Shots that he would not recommend that his clients sign with the Islanders as a result of the bad ice conditions at Barclays during the playoffs that he deemed “dangerous.”

Sometimes these pronouncements can be hyperbolic, and money can cure many ills, but the perception around the NHL is that the Islanders — hockey department and personnel aside — are not a destination franchise.

This is a critical juncture for the Islanders, who have spent years amassing draft picks and prospects but probably only have this season to cement Tavares’ long-term future with the organization. For if the club cannot attract free agents and can’t keep its own from walking out the door, then what are the odds that No. 91, in a dead heat with Pat LaFontaine as the greatest non-Dynasty player in franchise history, signs on for the duration before he can hit the open market in only two summers?

Brooks continues at length...

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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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