Friday, July 3, 2009

Thoughts on Some Minor Moves

If you expected the Islanders to make a big splash in the Free Agent market this year, you weren't paying attention to the plan that's in place. The idea is to build from within, through the Draft, with young players that grow as professionals through the Islanders system.

With a #1-A goalie acquired in the form of Dwayne Roloson on July 1st, the Islanders didn't believe that there would be any other requirements for the upcoming NHL season. However, there were some needs to be addressed for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Here's the Press Release:



Team Signs Munroe, Reich And Westgarth For Next Season

UNIONDALE, NY, July 2, 2009 – The New York Islanders announced today that they have agreed to terms with three players. Goaltender Scott Munroe, left wing Jeremy Reich and defenseman Brett Westgarth all have signed one-year, two-way contracts.

Munroe, an undrafted goalie from Moose Jaw, SASK, has been a part of the Philadelphia Flyers organization for the past four seasons. He received his first call-up to the National Hockey League last year with the Flyers. The 27-year-old net-minder posted a career year last season with a record of 31-19-0-4, a save percentage of .926 and four shutouts. Munroe led the Phantoms to the Calder Cup Playoffs in each of the past two seasons. During the 2008 Calder Cup Playoffs, Munroe made 65 saves in a five overtime contest against the Albany River Rats to earn the victory in the longest game in American Hockey League history.

Reich has played in a total of 99 NHL games scoring two goals and four assists while compiling 161 penalty minutes. The Craik, SASK native has been a part of the Boston Bruins organization for the past three years and played under Islanders head coach Scott Gordon his first two seasons with the team’s AHL affiliate, the Providence Bruins. Last season, the 6’1, 196 pound left wing, served as the team captain of Providence, setting single-season career high numbers of 21 goals and 13 assists for 34 points in 76 games. Reich was originally drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in the second round (39th overall) of the 1997 NHL Entry Draft.

Westgarth played the last three seasons in the AHL. Last year, the 6’2, 215 pound defenseman played for the Worcester Sharks, AHL affiliate of the San Jose Sharks, scoring nine points (2 goals and 7 assists) while totaling 137 penalty minutes. Westgarth, a native of Amhertsburg, ON, is a Princeton University graduate who skated for the Tigers from 2002-2007 where he compiled four goals and 20 assists for 24 points.

I find it interesting that Garth felt he needed to go out and get another AHL caliber goaltender in Scott Munroe. Despite the fact that Munroe has proven to be very effective, the Islanders now have to two goalies who will be looking to prove themselves at the AHL level (Nate Lawson and Mikko Koskinen). It does make sense if you're taking into consideration that Rick DiPietro isn't exactly the healthiest athlete around and his "backup" is approaching 40. So it stands to reason that you'd want a capable "backup for the backup" if Roloson or DiPietro ever happen to go down.

The signing of Jeremy Reich seems more like competition for Joel Rechlicz than anything else. He's a Scott Gordon fave from Providence and should prove effective at the AHL level. Scoring 21 goals and compiling 161 penalty minutes is not slouchy by any means for an "enforcer-type". He could prove useful as a callup from the "Bridge" or as a full-timer if the competition for the enforcer role heats up in training camp. I guess we won't know until September.

As far as Westgarth goes, you can never have enough size and mobility on your blueline. He's a good depth signing but shouldn't see much if any time at all with the Islanders this year.

That's my take and I'm sticking to it.

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