Category: New York Islanders

Trade Block: John Tavares

The New York Islanders had one of the most intriguing offseasons in the NHL and a lot of those pieces are leading to a John Tavares departure. The top-flight center has openly admitted to being disgruntled with the current state of the team and unless things change will no longer be a part of their future.

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The Islanders will be homeless at the end of 2019 as the owner of the Barclays center is reportedly exercising an opt-out clause in the original 25-year contract. The clause needs to be activated by Jan 31, 2018, and, if activated, the team would be forced to relocate at next seasons end. The new ownership group has reportedly been interested in a new arena near Citi Field or Belmont Park. However, a team that is notorious for struggling to turn a profit and struggling to secure public funding could possibly be looking towards a move to Quebec City.

None of this has sat well with the all-star center. He has done his best to quiet these talks, and his play has proven that this will not be an on-ice distraction but his feelings were well documented this off-season. GM Garth Snow has been working towards an extension as the season progresses, and Tavares has shown interest to stay, but it will be tough to convince number 91 to sign if they don’t have a rink to call home. While it would appear a free agent departure is the most likely outcome for this situation there is no reason to believe that if extension talks have come to a standstill Snow will not take an offer to recoup some of those draft picks they sent over to Vegas or a few top prospects.

Tavares’ current contract is extremely team-friendly with a current cap hit of only $5.5 million so much so even the Blackhawks could afford to bring him on. While he is expected to command around $12/year this offseason his current $5.5 million hit should have GMs preparing bids as we approach the trade deadline. While almost every team is reportedly interested in him this offseason teams GMs will have to gauge the risk vs reward of winning immediately and trading for negotiation rights. A center of Tavares’ caliber could command a king’s ransom in a trade situation, although he will most likely be departing at seasons end a blockbuster deal on deadline day is not out of the question.

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New York Islanders Sign Kieffer Bellows to Entry Level Deal

The New York Islanders have signed forward Kieffer Bellows to a three-year entry-level deal worth $2.775 million, the deal holds an annual average of $925 thousand per year. Bellows was a first-round pick by the Islanders selected 19th overall in 2016. He also had a very solid pre-season this year which is most likely what led to signing the young star.

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AMHERST, MA – DECEMBER 18: Kieffer Bellows #22 of the USA National Junior Team warms up before NCAA exhibition hockey against the Massachusetts Minutemen at the Mullins Center on December 18, 2015 in Amherst, Massachusetts. USA won 4-0. (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

Bellows will be joining the Portland Winterhawks this year in the WHL rather than going back to the NCAA. This will be his first year in the WHL and so far he’s put up three points in just a single game. Last year Bellows played in 34 games for Boston University only scoring 14 points in the process. However, he really broke out in 2015-16 with the United States National U-18 Team in the US Development Program where he put up 50 goals and 81 points in only 62 games.

Bellows has the potential to be a top forward with the Islanders, he can dominate games due to his incredible puck handling skills and accurate shot. He’ll also take himself into the dirtier areas of the ice and win puck battles, this will help his team at the same time as he can make a nice pass from those areas to create scoring chances.

The Isles already have some solid prospects, especially Joshua Ho-Sang and if Bellows grows into the top six forward he is projected to become, those two can do some serious things for the Islanders in the future.

Bellows has also had some international success, in 2015-16 he won a U-18 World Junior Championship Bronze medal and would follow that up with a Gold medal at the U-20 World Juniors. He’s also a Clark Cup Champion in the USHL where he won Rookie of the Year awards the same season.

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New York Islanders Re-Sign Gionta

The New York Islanders have re-signed forward Stephen Gionta to a one-year two-way contract on Wednesday worth $650,000. Gionta played his first year on Long Island last season when he appeared in 26 games for the Islanders putting up one goal and five assists for six points along with two penalty minutes and a plus nine rating.

Gionta also played with Bridgeport of the AHL as well last season appearing in seven games for the team. And in doing so earned one goal along with two helpers for three points. He also put up six penalty minutes and a plus five rating.

Before joining the Islanders, Gionta was part of the New Jersey Devils organization where he spent a total of 10 seasons split between the big club and the Lowell/Albany Devils of the AHL. Gionta played a total of 270 games with New Jersey and 374 games between Lowell/Albany. In his 296 NHL games played so far, Gionta has managed to score 16 goals and add 40 assists for 56 points. He also put up 95 penalty minutes with a minus eight rating. Also in 381 career AHL games, he has managed to total 64 goals and 85 assists for 149 points.

Gionta is expected to join the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the AHL for the 2017-18 season, but if an injury were to occur or suspension he has the experience to help fill the void.