Top three most frustrating aspects of being an Islander fan:
1. Watching your team get pushed around by more physical teams.
2. Watching your team consistently blow leads late in the game.
3. The fact that your team doesn't score enough.
The Isles have addressed these needs a bit in Free Agency so far with the additions of Bill Guerin, Andy Sutton and others. However, there are still gaps to be filled (and money that could be spent wisely).
On all the message boards, everyone is clamoring for the Isles to add a #1 Center, fearing that Comrie isn't up to the task at hand.
However, #1 Centermen don't grow on trees. There are none left in the UFA pool (with the possible exception of Forsberg, but I really can't see him going anywhere except to play for a Cup, which we are not ready to do yet) that are really appealing.
I've heard Jason Allison, Josef Vasicek and Jeff O'Neill mentioned as possible targets. I am not in favor of signing any of these players.
Allison and O'Neill have far too much tread on their tires to be #1 Centers. Vasicek has never scored more than 45 points in an NHL season.
Trading for someone like Marleau would deplete the roster in a devastating way and the last thing the Isles need is another Ryan Smyth situation.
So, with improvement to the offense a long shot, I think the way to go is to continue to bolster the defense so that the team can hold leads and win 2-1 games on a regular basis. Sexy? No. Effective? Yes.
Markov is not the answer either. He costs too much. No, there are two better options out there:
1. Ossi Vaananen: Another banger who will intimidate and clear the crease.
2. Nolan Pratt: He's a Stay at Home d-man who has won two Cups and would be an excellent tutor for our young guys.
Both of these players would be cheaper and, in my opinion, as effective as Markov would be.
We already have offensive defensemen like MAB, Campoli, and Martinek. Pair one each with Witt, Sutton and Vaananen/Pratt and you have balance and snarl on all three d-lines.
Garth, please don't overpay for Forsberg, Allison or any of the others. They will not solve the problem. Pick up one of the d-men I mentioned for 2-3 million a year and save the money for a forward until later.