Going into next season, Snow making the right moves on Long Island
Going into the off-season, Garth Snow had to address several areas of his team's game. The first, and perhaps most important position that Snow had to address is a position he knows well, goaltending.
Snow did just that by not only signing a top notch starter, but also a dependable back-up who can win hockey games on a consistent basis. For the first time in what seems like years, the Islanders will go into next season with the goaltending position shored up.
The team first went out and signed former St. Louis Blues' masked man Jaroslav Halak to a four-year, $18 million deal. While Halak has not won a Stanley Cup, he is a netminder that has had success both in the regular season and postseason and is a goaltender that the Islanders should be able to rely on a lot going into next season.
Yesterday, Snow also addressed the team's back-up goaltending situation by signing former Boston Bruins' second man Chad Johnson to a two-year, $2.6 million deal. Johnson is coming off a season in which he went 17-4-3 with a 2.10 goals against average, a .925 save percentage and two shutouts, which is exactly the kind of goaltending that the Islanders could use at the back-up position going into next season.
Snow also managed to address some of his team's offensive concerns. Today, Snow sent waves through the hockey world by signing both forwards Mikhail Grabovski (four-year, $20 million deal) and Nikolai Kulemin (four-year, $16.75 million) to four-year pacts.
There is no doubt that Grabovski has a lot of offensive talent. While with the Maple Leafs, he was a player that could put up between 48 and 58 points and with the Washington Capitals last season, he had 35 points (13 goals and 22 assists) in 58 games.
With that said, however, Grabovski needs to learn to be a more consistent offensive player. If he can play hard on a game-to-game basis, there is a chance that the Islanders may be able to get more out of him than either the Leafs or Capitals could.
Like Grabovski, Kulemin has the talent to put up points, but has yet to show it on a consistent basis. His best season was back in 2010-11 with the Leafs when he had 57 points (30 goals and 27 assists) and if he can get back to being that player with the Islanders, the team could end up being a really dangerous offensive hockey club.
While there is still some areas of the team that Snow needs to look at, he has at least taken steps in the right direction to make his hockey club better, which is really all one can ask of a team's general manager.