|Brunner is a great fit, but there's no room on the Island.|
I'm not saying this year's free agency class was quality in itself (it was actually an atrocious free agency class upon free agency's arrival this summer), but there are definitely players still available, two weeks into free agency, that can provide a boost to many clubs. Mikhail Grabovski, Damien Brunner, and Mason Raymond, for example, are all in the midst of the prime of their careers.
With that being said, Islanders' fans who are still holding out hope for one of the available forwards on the open market should knock it off. Yesterday's signing of Josh Bailey pretty much dries the cement that was put in place a few weeks ago - the Islanders are likely finished shopping for another forward this offseason.
Think about it. With the Josh Bailey signing, the New York Islanders have thirteen NHL veterans (non-rookies) under contract for the 2013-14 season. Obviously, that total doesn't include the rookies, who many Islanders' fans want to see on next year's team, Ryan Strome and Brock Nelson. Combine both groups, and the Islanders potentially have fifteen forwards going into October.
Out of those fifteen players, only three of them (Strome, Nelson, and Cizikas) can be sent down to Bridgeport without passing through waivers.Cizikas is a lock to make the Islanders roster out of camp. As for the rest of the line-up, who would you move to make room for the aforementioned forwards?
Many of you would have probably said Josh Bailey, but he's now here to stay for the long-term. Although I think it's a possibility to move him, Michael Grabner is probably not going anywhere, nor do I want to see him moved. Would you really move anybody else to add a player such as Damien Brunner, or Mikhail Grabovski?
Of course, you will probably say Peter Regin or Eric Boulton. That's fine, but then where do you find space for Ryan Strome or Brock Nelson, without leaving out players such as the newly acquired Cal Clutterbuck and Pierre-Marc Bouchard? Obviously, you aren't going to add another name, so you can leave Matt Martin or Matt Moulson in the press-box for one night.
Face it. There's no room for any more additions to the Islanders' current group of forward - not that there really has to be anyways.
I mean, with all of the cries for a top-line winger for JT, let's not forget that the Islanders finished with the NHL's 8th-best offense in 2013. The returning forwards from last season played a huge role in achieving the Islanders' first top-10 offense since the 2001-02 season, and the ones who left were already replaced. The Islanders already made their improvements this offseason, replacing Brad Boyes with Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Marty Reasoner with Peter Regin (or better yet, Ryan Strome and Brock Nelson), and Keith Aucoin with Cal Clutterbuck.
What I'm trying to say is this: let's forget about adding another forward this offseason. Offense is, and should be, the Islanders' lowest priority at this point in time. Please exit Cap Geek, stop searching "Garth Snow Damien Brunner" in Google, quit suggesting adding Mikhail Grabovski to Long Island, and refrain from focusing on improving on something the Islanders already have.
With 13 NHL forwards under contract, and Ryan Strome and Brock Nelson waiting in the wings, the Islanders expect to have another high-powered offense for the 2013-14 season. What happens during and after the season depends on how the Islanders perform, but the Islanders seem to have their core group of guys, starters and organizational depth, set for October and beyond.
I'm Chris Triants, and this is my blog.
Let's go Islanders!