The New York Islanders did not please fans on Tuesday when they revealed that controversial general manager Garth Snow would return next season. We all remember how a group of fans started a Go Fund Me in order to purchase advertising time on a billboard just outside of the Barclays Center. The ad was designed to call for the termination of the Islanders GM. The Isles' fans were heard chanting "Snow must go" during several games and they put their money where their mouth is, raising the funds for the Go Fund Me campaign in very short order.
Too late now, Snow will be back, but there is one more man that needs to return for the fan base to be happy: captain John Tavares. However, the Islanders did not manage to clinch a playoff spot this spring, and that has to tip the balance for the star forward. Since the start of Tavares' tenure with the Isles, the team has made it to the playoffs only three times, and now the team is left with very little to show in order to keep the centre who is set to hit the free-agent market in a few months.
The speculation surrounding Tavares has been rampant despite the fact that there has never been any indication that he would leave the Islanders for one reason or another, but the fact that New York was not able to show up as a true contender will surely matter to Tavares. However, it appears that the Islanders are ready to pull one last desperate move in order to keep their captain. A few months ago, former NHL goalie and TSN analyst Jamie McLennan revealed the biggest missing piece for the Isles when it comes to re-signing Tavares and it has more to do with the overall success of the team:
"When I look at his whole body of work, yeah he's got some terrific players around him likeMathew Barzal, who's probably going to win the Calder this year... I just look at this whole organization, and the one thing they don't have is a starting goaltender that can give them 65+ games, so if I am John Tavares and his management group and team and say: who is going to play in net for those years - that is a key decision for me moving forward there.
"I don't see any scenario that John Tavares, if they don't make the playoffs, that he is going to sign there."
It seems like the Islanders agreed with McLellan and decided to sign a goaltender on Wednesday. According to KHL insider Aivis Kalnins, the Islanders are set to sign SKA goalie Mikko Koskinen on July 1st.
The 29-year-old was drafted by the Islanders, in the second round, 31st overall back in the 2009 NHL Draft. He however only took part in four NHL games before heading to Russia, where he has played with St. Petersburg SKA for the last four seasons. In the latest season with SKA, Koskinen registered a 1.69 goal-against average and a .931 save percentage.
Koskinen is expected to make the jump back to the NHL with the Islanders once his deal with SKA runs out this summer.
Is this the last attempt for the Islanders to prove to JT they are serious about being a contender and want him on board to lead the way?