Islanders Insight’S Top Shelf: 6/27/16

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The alarm is starting to sound on the Frans Nielsen contract watch. Larry Brooks reported yesterday that the Islanders offered Nielsen a contract at $5.5 million per, but Nielsen anticipates getting $6 million per on a contract that runs through his age 36 season. Although close, the two sides are not yet together on a deal and the chances of Nielsen applying for free agency on July 1st are looking very likely.

John Tavares turns twenty-six years old in September and it’s a curious time to be letting three impact forwards walk out the door. Overall, if you think about how far the organization has come since it missed the playoffs two years ago, there still is a nice story here. Thirty-eight year old Evgeni Nabakov is no longer the organizational darling between the pipes and you now have legitimate options at starter, backup, in Bridgeport and even in Russia. It’s no longer just Travis Hamonic on the blueline and you now have three of the top twenty five defensemen in the league. Thomas Hickey, Calvin de Haan, Ryan Pulock and Adam Pelech are also developing and filling in your top six.

Casey Cizikas is signed and Anders Lee, Brock Nelson,Cal Clutterbuck and others are still on the roster, but the organization’s inability to develop a potent group of top six forwards, either because of an unwillingness to spend or inability to develop top prospects, is a cloud that still lingers over this franchise. The top draft picks have already been made and they are here. One is actually about to leave. Kyle Okposo, Josh Bailey and Ryan Strome were all top picks, but haven’t been able to match with Tavares like we’ve seen other top lines around the NHL over consistent stretches.

There’s a lot of posturing that happens this time of year so things can change in a minute. And yes, you can win in today’s NHL without an elite offense and with solid goaltending and defense. But when July 1st strikes it looks like it will be an anxious moment in Islanders country because there’s a chance three important offensive pieces from last year’s team will be looking for new homes and Garth Snow won’t yet have their replacements.

Islanders Links

There’s Plenty of Interst in Kyle Okposo

Draft Weekend: The Isles Drafted Tavares Seven Years Ago

What Must the Islanders Do Next

Isles Stockpile Prospects on Final Day of Draft

NHL Links

Rangers will see if Vanek is interested in one year deal

Stamkos the Big Fish

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