You really have to respect the Islanders. They were shut out of the top-tier free agents big time, but they didn’t fold. They’re still working hard. They just landed Bill Guerin and Mike Comrie . Depending on which Guerin shows up (Dallas/San Jose William or Boston/St. Louis/NJ Billy) the Isles could be getting the player of coach Ted Nolan’s gritty dreams. Of course, $9 million over two years is a little steep for a player who could just as easily disappear on the ice. Interestingly, Comrie and Guerin seem to working as a package, trying make sure they both end up on a competitive team. I don’t think Comrie has ever lived up to his playmaking potential, so like Guerin, he’s a risk. But a risk worth taking. Especially when you’re dealing with a coach like Ted Nolan, who really can elevate his players. And especially when the player is on a one-year contract, looking to show the NHL he’s a top-line NHL center.
The Isles are also said to be trying to pry defenseman Ed Jovanovski and his no-trade clause of Phoenix.
Also, from the no-trades-are-growing file, Slava Kozlov took less money from his hometown Atlanta Thrashers once they threw in a no-trade. Dallas seemed really hot for him, so that’s another free agent they’e missed out on.
Also, speaking of taking less money, Michael Nylander took less money from the Caps because his wife didn’t want to go to Edmonton. In a scene right out of JERRY MAGUIRE, Edmonton GM Kevin Lowe found himself trying to sign someone who had just signed someplace else. The whole thing seems like it was more horrible communication than malice, but that doesn’t really help Edmonton.
Edmonton lost Nylander at hello.