As per KatieStrangeNYI via twitter, GM Garth Snow is eyeing mid-Deccember as a return date for Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro. DiPietro who has missed all but five games since the 2007-08 season finally has a timeline on a return.
Drafted in the 1st round, 1st overall in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, DiPietro was slated to be the "franchise" player the New York Islanders coveted since the trade that sent Roberto Luongo out of New York. Of course, in winning the lottery this past off-season, the Islanders now have two potential "franchise" players within their organization. With John Tavares having a fantastic start to his rookie season, he and DiPietro are two pieces to build the future around.
After signing a 12-year contract extension with the Islanders, DiPietro became one big injury. He has missed close to an entire season of playing time as well as off-season conditioning. His return has been highly anticipated. Still considered the teams franchise goaltender (maybe not actual franchise player with JT on board), DiPietro has a lot to prove. Do you, the fans of the New York Islanders, feel that DiPietro is still the goaltender of the future ? (e-mail me: ACHockeyGuys@gmail.com or discuss within the comments.)
GM Garth Snow, during the off-season of 2009, went out and acquired goaltenders Dwayne Roloson and Martin Biron, via free agency, to fill the void left by DiPietro. Little did anyone know, the Roloson signing would be something of greatness. An insurance policy has turned into signs of hope.
Now, the Islanders can turn what was just an outline of an idea into reality. It was widely speculated that upon Dipietro's return, because of the contract signed by Roloson, Biron would be used as a trading chip to obtain an asset that would be needed at the time of the deal. Now, of course there is nothing in place and I will not be the rumor maker but it is obvious that Roloson is the insurance policy, with a two-year deal, to DiPietro. We can all lock it in that Roloson, at the very least, will be playing back up to Ricky once next season starts.
Why look that far ahead into the future? Currently, the Islanders are fighting for the playoffs and for a team that all the "experts" had slated as another lottery pick, they sure are turning some heads.
If Biron can be used to acquire a top pairing shut-down defenseman to play alongside Mark Streit, they can start to mae some serious noise within the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference. Of course, we can speculate all we want however, until anything is finalized, let's hope that DiPietro's return is not a short one.
Garth Snow is a very intelligent hockey mind, and Biron will not go anywhere until Ricky proves he is 100% healed and prepared for action. After a stint with Bridgeport, the next step would be the sporadic starts with the big club. From there, decisions can be finalized.
So Islanders fans, let's wait it out properly. Garth Snow has a plan, and I'm sure we can all be confident that the proper move will be made when the time is right.