Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter
Recently, sources told SNY that Mikhail Grabovski would be seeing Islanders team doctors in an attempt to get cleared for training camp, which began last Thursday morning at the Long Island Marriott with media day.
Last Friday, the Islanders announced that Grabovski had failed his physical. And on Monday, it was announced that Grabovski had been placed on IR due to an upper body injury, retroactive to March 16.
This is extremely depressing news for the Islanders' 32-year-old center who has amassed 296 points in 534 career NHL games.
He is a good possession player and, statistics be damned, made the Islanders forwards better as an overall, consistent unit. Islanders assistant coach/assistant general manager Doug Weight added to Staple that some tests are still continuing but the team 'won't be surprised at the results.'
The Islanders will now have to find a replacement at center. It certainly makes the prospect of Matthew Barzal that much more intriguing, especially if Brock Nelson shifts to the wing to accommodate Ryan Strome at his more natural center position on a line with fellow youngster Anders Lee.
Casey Cizikas is going to be forced to play the Frans Nielsen role and the captain obviously anchors the Islanders' first unit down the middle. It looks very much like a competition for that fourth center spot between Barzal and Alan Quine.
With two years remaining at a $5 million cap hit, LTIR is an option but not as cut and dry as some assume it to be. It's not simply 'free cap' to spend. The cap number would remain on the Islanders' payroll, but they would be allowed to be over the upper limit by a percentage of Grabovski's salary. It's explained very well right here, but to surmise its most important paragraph:
The problem with LTIR is that using it to exceed the cap means a team won't be able to save any of that space to add to the roster later. You're already spending over the amount you're supposed to be, so you can't make room other than by adding more people to LTIR.
This is clearly an unfortunate situation for both Grabovski and the Islanders.
Halak a monster in Toronto
Jaroslav Halak is certainly not making the Islanders goalie situation any easier to solve. He has been superb at the World Cup of Hockey, his first game action since tearing his groin muscle in March at Barclays Center against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Halak had a nasty undertone to his season-ending interview, and make no mistake, it's hard to not fault him for that. There are only two nets in practice and one available each game, so doing the math is not that difficult. Not to mention, he was having a fine season (2.30. .919) splitting duties with Thomas Greiss.
Instead of letting that negatively affect his offseason, Halak worked extremely hard to be ready and has been brilliant in the tournament -- a step up in competition and intensity from a normal training camp walk-through.
Losing to the Canadiens Wednesday night was nothing to be ashamed of, especially when you stop 42 of 46 shots. Over his three games, a 1.98 GAA and .946 save percentage shows that he might come into the season in the best shape and with the highest focus of perhaps his career.
Rookie camp cuts
Staple also tweeted about four cuts from the Islanders rookie camp that was successfully run by Brent Thompson, culminating with their 4-0 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers youngsters Wednesday night in an exhibition game in East Meadow. None were projected to make the Sound Tigers.