So, I know I said this before the draft (and was wrong) but I'll say it again: The Islanders will go after a defenseman.
Now I know you are all likely drooling at the prospect of landing a top-tier guy like Dan Hamhuis, Paul Martin, Anton Volchenkov, Zbynek Michalek or Sergei Gonchar, but guess what? Every team will be after these guys.
Will they go big-game hunting to land one of them? Are they willing to overpay in a year where it is a pretty thin crop outside of those five top guys? Tomorrow we shall see....
Until then, here are a few names (including some forwards) to chew on:
Chris Higgins, 27. Left Wing. New York Rangers/ Calgary Flames. 8g-9a-17pts. $2.25 million. Although the Smithtown, NY native is coming off a bad year (that will subsequently necessitate a pay cut), he had three straight seasons of 20 goals or more for Montreal.
Eric Nystrom, 27. Left Wing. Calgary Flames. 11g-8a-19 pts. $687,500. Son of Islanders legend, Bob “Mr. Islander” Nystrom, this gritty winger is a promising player in his own right. Nystrom also scored a goal and an assist in his Nassau Coliseum debut back in March.
Jody Shelley, 34. Left Wing. San Jose Sharks/New York Rangers. 2 g-7a-9 pts. Shelley’s numbers won’t dazzle you, but he’s a tough, effective fourth-line player that has immense value inside the dressing room. Although the Rangers are reportedly interested in re-signing him, he’d be a good pickup for the Islanders.
Andy Sutton, 35. Defenseman. New York Islanders/Ottawa Senators. 5g-8a-13 pts. $3.5 million. The Isles traded him at the deadline for a second-round pick once a playoff push looked unlikely, but still like his size and physicality in their back end.
*Niklas Hjalmarsson, 23. Defenseman. Chicago 2g-15a-17pts. $666,000. Hjalmarsson is a restricted free agent, but given the Blackhawks looming cap issues, would be a prime candidate for an offer sheet from the Islanders.
***P.S. Thanks for everyone who dropped in on today's live chat!