ESPN.com’s Scott Burnside posed an interesting query at the bottom of a recent Cross Checks entry: Wouldn’t signing Bryan McCabe make perfect sense for the Islanders?
I love the idea.
For one, power play point man Mark Streit is recovering from injury and McCabe was at least serviceable for the Panthers and then the cross-river Rangers last season. We could even go so far as to say he was solid after joining the Blueshirts in midseason. McCabe held his own as a second and third pair defenseman, manning the point on the power play at least somewhat admirably.
Even if Streit is fully recovered, he can’t reasonably play every minute of every man advantage. McCabe could serve as a nice breather on the second unit and his 28 points and seven goals in 67 games last season would have led all Islanders defensemen.
No one’s saying McCabe is going to come in and play 22 minutes a night, but the 36 year old averaged 19:34 of ice time in the regular season last year. And he was a plus-2 on the year! That’s valuable (and mostly reliable) ice time for a team that saw the majority of its defenders finish with a minus rating last season.
McCabe’s also affordable, but affordable in the sense that he’ll help the Islanders get ever-so-closer to the salary cap floor. They currently sit over $10 million away from that floor as of Wednesday night, according to CapGeek.com. Last year, McCabe made 4.15 million, with a $5.75M cap hit, in the final year of a five-year, $28 million deal he got from Toronto in 2006. He won’t make that anymore, and the Islanders wouldn’t pay him that anyway. But a one-year, $2.1M deal for a veteran defenseman with a still-capable shot who can help out on the back end and help mentor some of the younger blueliners the Isles are counting on for years to come?
Come on, that’s a no-brainer.