Mar 29, 2011, 3:29 PM EDT
Although the New York Islanders have six games left in the 2010-11 season, the fact that they have been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs shifts all eyes to the future. The last three bits of news all focus on the 2011-12 campaign, whether it be their ticket office (ticket prices going down), the outlook of a long-time veteran (Doug Weight) or the near future of young goalie Al Montoya.
Weight is done for the season and Katie Strang reports that the veteran center is also leaning toward retirement. The once-prolific passer is dealing with back issues, problems that have Weight concerned about the possibility of risking permanent nerve damage in that area if he keeps playing. While it’s too early to say, Weight said he might try to stay with the organization in some kind of front office role if he does retire.
While Weight’s status as an active pro continues to shrink, one player who may have earned a longer stay at the NHL level is goalie Al Montoya. The team apparently likes what it saw from him during his brief stay after acquiring him from the Phoenix Coyotes, because the team announced that they signed him to a one-year extension today. Strang passes along an important note: the deal is a one-way contract, meaning that it won’t be as easy for the team to send Montoya to the minors next season.
Aside from players who are trying to prove they deserve to stick with the team in ’11-12, just about everyone in the Islanders season is already thinking about next season. For Weight, it’s unclear if he will suit up again. For Montoya, he finally might get the chance to prove he’s more than a borderline pro.
The best part for Islanders fans: it should be cheaper to watch him try.
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