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Report: Islanders’ Nilsson might sign with European club

Apr 30, 2014, 8:10 PM EDT

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Goaltender Anders Nilsson has played in 23 career games with the New York Islanders since he came to North America in 2011, but the 24-year-old has gotten significantly more work in the minors.

He’s scheduled to become a restricted free agent this summer and would like to ink a one-year contract after posting a 3.11 GAA and .896 save percentage in 19 games this season. The Islanders aren’t willing to meet that demand, so he will probably sign with a Swedish or KHL club, according to Newsday’s Arthur Staple.

Nilsson reportedly tipped his hand to the Swedish newspaper Expressen.

“I have done for three years in the AHL and I do not think it would be good for my development to play a fourth year in the AHL,” Nilsson said, per Google translate. “That’s what I’ve said to them, since we have not started to go into contract negotiations.”

If this report is true, it would make the Islanders’ goaltending situation is a little more uncertain. The Islanders starting goalie, Evgeni Nabokov, is also scheduled to become a free agent. The 38-year-old netminder had a 2.74 GAA and .905 save percentage in 40 games in 2013-14.

  1. lowenni - Apr 30, 2014 at 8:45 PM

    Well if the Isles know what’s good for them he certainly won’t be with them next season (key word being “if”, there), so I don’t blame Nilsson. As a European, he’ll probably have more success and a better time there and who knows, maybe in a few years he can give the NHL another try. Although the Isles defense was admittedly useless, Nillsson is not ready for the NHL, or maybe just not good enough.

    • bcisleman - Apr 30, 2014 at 10:08 PM

      Isles D was actually pretty decent. Towards the top of the NHL in SOGs against. And that in spite of missing Lubo most of the season and Hammer and Straiter for big stretches plus AMac going at the deadline.

      Goaltending is the problem. Nilsson and Poulin have proven that they are not ready for the NHL. Nilsson’s comments simplify things for the Isles. They will need to trade for at least one goalie–likely Reimer–and they should kick the tires on Holtby as well. Then they need to look to FA for Halak, Hiller or whoever.

  2. 19inarow - Apr 30, 2014 at 11:07 PM

    “I have done for three years in the AHL and I do not think it would be good for my development to play a fourth year in the AHL.” Jimmy Howard did four years. And it’s not like Nilsson was tearing up the A — quite the opposite.

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