It’s pretty obvious that New York Islanders winger Mikhail Grabovski has a murky future with the organization.
They say that hindsight is 20-20.
Snow, who assembled a squad that lifted the franchise to its first second round appearance in north of two decades, inked both Nikolai Kulemin and Mikhail Grabovski to four-year deals in the 2014 offseason.
The tandem had played together in Toronto, with the latter being a prolific playmaker and the chieftain being a solid two-way player.
It’s turned out that neither winger has left much of an imprint on the Brooklyn-based team.
Kulemin, 29, has been a streaky goal-scorer, but has been aided immensely by his indelible contributions on the penalty kill.
Grabovski, 32, has had limited effectiveness when on the ice, which hasn’t been often due to a string of injuries.
It’s that injury scourge that has writers such as myself mulling Grabo’s future with the team.
Inked to a four-year contract worth in 2014, Grabovski has suffered from a string of concussions, upper-body injuries and left ankle problems. He missed thirty-one games in 2014-15 and twenty-four a season later. Of the Isles’ last 18 playoff games over the past two seasons, Grabo has competed in a mere three.
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His concussion history is most alarming. As Jeremy Roenick phrased it in an article for NHL.com, “Due to all the research that has been done on concussions and considering what the National Hockey League now knows about concussions and how it plays in part to your brain, this is an issue that must be taken very seriously. Your brain and heart are the most important parts of your body. If they go, there’s no sense in going on.”
The Isles could potentially be cap-constrained when the offseason concludes, so one has to wonder if Snow will place Grabo on the long-term injured reserve or negotiate a buyout.
The only way the Isles can buyout Grabovski’s contract is if both parties agree to it, which seems fairly unlikely as of the present. He doesn’t own much trade value thanks to his injury history, colossal contract and lack of production.
After analyzing all the variables — money saved, injury history, recovery stage, effectiveness — Snow will have to reach a verdict.
It should be an intriguing decision.