Hockey

Free Agency Frenzy: Islanders Skip Storm

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The New York Islanders were relatively quiet Saturday afternoon as the announcements of contract signings trickled down Twitter feeds. Amidst the frenzy that ensues on Canada Day, the Isles did however sign some depth/system players.

Among those signings were Kane Lafranchise, Seth Helgeson, and Scott Eansor.

The following are press releases from both the Islanders, as well as their AHL affliate Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

 

The New York Islanders have agreed to terms with defenseman Kane Lafranchise on a one-year, two-way (NHL/AHL) deal.

Lafranchise, 29, notched American Hockey League career highs in goals (five) and points (21) and tied a career-best 16 assists in his first full season with Bridgeport in 2016-17. A native of Edmonton, AB, Lafranchise also led the Sound Tigers with a plus-17 rating, which was also a career high.

He has collected 59 points (eight goals, 51 assists) in 171 AHL games with the Sound Tigers, Utica Comets, Oklahoma City Barons, Houston Aeros and Abbotsford Heat. In addition, the 6’1, 200-pound defenseman has registered 111 points (15 goals, 96 assists) in 218 ECHL games with the Alaska Aces, Kalamazoo Wings and Missouri Mavericks. He also won a Kelly Cup championship with Alaska in 2014.

Prior to turning pro, Lafranchise played three seasons at the University of Alaska-Anchorage. He notched 33 points (nine goals, 24 assists) in 97 contests.

(Courtesy of the New York Islanders)

The New York Islanders have agreed to terms with defenseman Seth Helgeson on a one-year, two-way (NHL/AHL) deal.

Helgeson, 26, scored one goal and posted 15 penalty minutes in nine games with the New Jersey Devils last season. The Faribault, MN, native added nine points (two goals, seven assists) in 48 American Hockey League games with the Albany Devils.

New Jersey selected Helgeson in the fourth round (114th overall) of the 2009 National Hockey League Draft. He’s scored four points (one goal, three assists) with a plus-1 rating in 50 career NHL games with the Devils and added 38 points (seven goals, 31 assists) with a plus-43 rating in 218 AHL games with Albany.

Prior to his professional career, Helgeson played four seasons of college hockey at the University of Minnesota after two seasons with the Sioux City Muskateers of the United States Hockey League.

(Courtesy of the New York Islanders)

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers announced today forward Scott Eansor has agreed to terms on an American Hockey League contract for the 2017-18 season.

Eansor, 21, spent each of the last four seasons with the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League (WHL). He recorded 38 points (18 goals, 20 assists) in 40 games last season and ranked second on the club in short-handed goals (three) and fourth in game-winning goals (four), while serving as team captain. In addition, Eansor collected 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in 20 playoff games, helping Seattle win the WHL title.

Overall, the Englewood, Colo. native registered 129 points (47 goals, 82 assists) and a plus-23 rating in 219 WHL games, all with Seattle. Eansor also played on the international stage with Team USA’s U-20 World Junior Championships club in 2015-16. The 5’9, 174-pound center notched a goal and a plus-2 rating in seven games, helping USA to a bronze medal.

(Courtesy of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers)

 

In addition to the signings, Isles’ General Manager Garth Snow kept the trade hotline open.

 

The New York Islanders have acquired goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for forward Carter Verhaeghe.

Gudlevskis, 24, posted a 15-10-7-4 (W-L-OTL-SOL) record last season with a 2.65 goals-against average and a .897 save percentage in 37 games with the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League. The Aizkraukle, Latvia, native also appeared in one National Hockey League game last season with the Lightning.

Tampa Bay selected Gudlevskis in the fifth round (124th overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft. In 158 career AHL games with Syracuse, he’s posted a 74-47-19-10 record with a 2.75 GAA and .902 SV%. He was selected to play in the AHL All-Star Game in the 2015-16 season. Gudlevskis has also appeared in three NHL games with the Lightning, posting a 1-0-1 record with a 1.37 GAA and .959 SV%.

On the International stage, Gudlevskis represented Latvia at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, the 2013 and 2014 World Championships, the 2012 and 2011 World Junior Championships and the 2010 Under-18 World Championships. He won a gold medal in 2011 (Division 1) and was named a Top Three Player on the Team in 2012 and 2013.

Verhaeghe, 21, split his second professional season between the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the AHL and the Missouri Mavericks of the ECHL, totaling 61 points (28 goals, 33 assists) in 61 games. Selected by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the third round (82nd overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft, Verhaeghe was traded to the Islanders as a part of a deal for Michael Grabner on September 17, 2015.

 

Don’t let the numbers fool you with Gudlevskis. The 24-year old Latvian netminder single-handedly almost prevented Team Canada from advancing at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. There, he turned aside 55 out of 57 shots, barely losing the contest 2-1. His 2014 Olympics showings, along with his short call-up with Tampa, show that Gudlevskis has the ability to perform well when needed the most. He remains unsigned, however, and is arbitration-eligible.

Four other restricted free agents include forward Connor Jones, defensemen Calvin de Haan and Adam Pelech, and goaltender Christopher Gibson. Jones and de Haan are arbitration-eligible.

 

Double G Sports will continue to keep you posted on any news of RFA signings or trades for the New York Islanders.

Evan Schleifer

Evan Schleifer

Evan is the Hockey Editor for DoubleGSports.com. He provides coverage of the New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, New York Islanders, and Philadelphia Flyers, as well as some league-wide content.
Evan Schleifer

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