Isles Get Reasonable, Sign Marty Reasoner to Two-Year Deal
I decided to wait until the latter portion of the evening before I posted anything about today's action for the New York Islanders with free agency having officially kicked off at 12 PM today. Granted, the Isles typically are not the most active team on July 1st, usually making their moves in the days that follow.
For example, Snow was able to swoop up Mark Streit with a five-year deal that arguably has been his best signing in his relatively short tenure as General Manager. Dwayne Roloson was another diamond in the rough signing that many were not expecting, making him a fan-favorite and possibly the most consistent player to wear an Islanders uniform in the past two seasons before being traded last year. Zenon Konopka was a July 2nd signing and helped turn a franchise around by restoring a "don't mess with us" mentality, creating a new sense of camaraderie that remains in that locker room to this day.
So who would be next?
As of now, the Islanders have shored up the bottom half of their line-up with Marty Reasoner; a two-way centerman that will likely replace the void that Konopka has left with his release to free agency. The 34 year-old veteran's deal is for two years worth $2.7 million.
Reasoner has never scored more than 14 goals in a season, having done it more than once, including last year with the Florida Panthers. In 82 games, he amassed 14 goals and 18 assists for 32 points while ranking amongst the top 25 in the league in face-offs, a statistical category where Konopka was also excellent.
Here is what Reasoner had to say about the Islanders per their official web-site:
“I think towards the second half of the season, a lot of people and teams started to notice they were a tough team to play against,” Reasoner said. “We played them in Florida twice during the second half and they had their way with us. They were a tough team to match up against. They are building in the right direction. Hopefully that can translate into a really good start this October so that we’ll have a great year.”
“I’m going to come in and work hard on face-offs, be there on the penalty kill and be solid two-ways, trying to chip in offensively, but really be good defensively,” Reasoner said. “Really for me, it’s just trying to help out in any way that I can, whatever it may be on any given night. As you get older, you try to be as versatile as you can and be able to play in as many situations as you can.”
I was one who did not want to see Konopka leave the Island, but with Gillies and Martin on board next season and Micheal Haley possessing a decent amount of offensive skill to go with his attitude, their was a lesser need for a player like Konopka going forward. Reasoner will do what he did but with added offense and without the haymakers.
In other news, the Islanders have also signed one of their top prospects, Kirill Kabanov to a three-year entry level deal. Kabanov was originally placed under a lot of scrutiny for not taking his job seriously, showing up late to practice and getting cut early from last year's training camp. But by the end of last season, the Lewiston MAINEiacs forward was one of three finalists for the league's Humanitarian Player of the League award for his contributions to the community. He also totaled 28 points in 39 games while also recording 20 points in 15 playoff games. Some scouts even considered him as top-10 draft material in his class last year, but many felt he might not be worth the risk due to his poor attitude which is why he dropped all the way to the third round. It appears that he has started to grow up with the way he handles himself and the no risk gamble of drafting him might be starting to pay off. The Islanders are clearly doing their best to pave the way for a kid who could one day blossom as a superstar at the Coliseum.
At the end of the day, the Islanders made some decent, average moves. If Snow plans on making any other serious changes, it will likely be through a trade. Last year he was able to snag Wisniewski from the Ducks for a third round pick. Although there are still some credible free agents out there, it's hard to expect Snow to make any changes to his line-up that would take away a roster spot from the young core, especially since Nino Niederreiter is ready to make his official jump to the NHL.
Stay tuned for any other Islanders action as free agency continues.
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