"One must wonder about Rick DiPietro's(notes) longterm health and future by the actions taken this summer. For it almost looks like they are also even hedging some bets that The Rick might not be back at all." - BD Gallof, IslandersIndependent.com, July 21
Ya think? The NY Post reports today exclusively that the New York Islanders have signed former Philadelphia Flyers starter Marty Biron to one-year, $1.4 million deal. That's after the team signed 40-year-old Dwayne Roloson(notes) for two years and $5 million during the free-agent frenzy.
Chris Botta will no doubt have to adjust his DiProjection for 2009-10.
Look, the DiPietro "lifetime" deal of 15 years and $67.5 million long ago entered into the pantheon of hockey punchlines, like the glow puck or Alexandre Daigle. Yet all three still have their defenders; we've engaged more than one puckhead in a pub debate who argued that the Islanders were shrewd to lock DiPi in at a $4.5 million cap hit, even with a contract that runs through 2021.
The contract is what it is. DiPietro's brittle body (it was his knee last season that limited him to five games) is what it is. The Islanders' moves in goal this summer, however, have shown a refreshing aggressiveness and drive for success.
The days of pinning their hopes on damaged goods, and then hoping for the best from likes of Joey MacDonald(notes), are done. Roloson is a proven starter. Biron is a proven starter. If DiPietro can't answer the bell, one of these guys will.
Sure, the Islanders forward corps is comprised of John Tavares(notes), Kyle Okposo(notes), Doug Weight(notes) and a slew of maybes. Yeah, the defense makes one wish that Mark Streit(notes) could play 60 minutes a game. But the goaltending situation is no longer built on a foundation of X-rays and Rosary beads. If you're an Islanders fan, that has to be encouraging.
As for Biron ... if you had told him before the season that he'd be signing a one-year deal with the Islanders to potentially be their third-strong goalie, what do you think he reaches for first: the whiskey or the catalogue of night-school classes? But hey, it's a living, right?
- Marty Biron