By Todd Singer @breakingbadfish on April 9, 2014
With another disappointing season coming to a close, the New York Islanders' roster figures to look very different from how it does today. While the Isles rarely make wholesale changes to their roster, an influx of young talent coming in plus the possible augmentation of the roster with a few free agents mean there won't be room for everyone to stay on the Island. The following players could find themselves wearing different jerseys next season.
Eric Boulton has never been a key piece for the team, but rather an enforcer who suits up when the team needs additional size. Boulton will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and given his miniscule, specialized role on the team, it's likely that the team will choose to let him walk.
Colin McDonald has filled in admirably for the Islanders over the past few seasons and has been a nice fit on the team's fourth line opposite Matt Martin. That being said, McDonald has his limitations and with quite a few of the Islanders' more talented prospects knocking on the door, New York is going to have to find roster spots for them. McDonald has been a good soldier, but he could find himself as one of the odd men out.
The Islanders signed Matt Carkner to a three-year deal a few summers ago, but Carkner has been a frequent scratch due to injury or mediocre play. Carkner, like Boulton, is primarily an enforcer, but for a team whose defense has been its Achilles' heel, the Islanders can't afford to keep running out someone with such limited defensive skills. Assuming the Isles move to fix their defensive corps this offseason, Carkner could be shown the door.
Josh Bailey has had a very tumultuous career with the Islanders, and that time may finally come to an end this offseason. While Bailey showed flashes last season of being the player the Islanders thought they were getting with the ninth overall pick in 2008, this season he has largely regressed. While his play has picked up at the end of the season, he had a goal scoring drought earlier this year and could be trade bait in the offseason.
Evgeni Nabokov has been a solid backstop for the Islanders, but he's been done in by the sieve-like defensive corps in front of him. Soon to be 39, Nabokov's best days are behind him and the Islanders need to bring in a goaltender who can steal a few games for them and make up for the mistakes of the young defensemen. With the Islanders figuring to go in a different direction, "Nabby" could be elsewhere next year.
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