NEW YORK (AP) -The New York Islanders are buying out the remaining four years on Alexei Yashin's 10-year contract in the first step of an offseason overhaul they hope will include re-signing Jason Blake and Ryan Smyth.
``It's going to make the team have a different look,'' coach Ted Nolan said of Yashin's departure in a conference call Wednesday. ``Hopefully, we can work something out with (Blake and Smyth). We're trying to assemble a cohesive group here.''
Yashin finished with 119 goals and 171 assists in 346 games with the Islanders, but struggled the past two seasons. He had 18 goals and 32 assists this season, when he missed 24 games with a sprained right knee. He was scoreless in the Islanders' five-game first-round playoff loss to the Buffalo Sabres.
``Unfortunately he got hurt and couldn't get back to where he was before. ... He couldn't get it going,'' Nolan said. ``It'll be a nice fresh start for him and now we have to find someone to replace him.''
General manager Garth Snow and Nolan wouldn't disclose the team's offseason strategy, but acknowledged that re-signing Blake, their leading scorer, and Smyth would be priorities.
``We'd love to have Ryan back,'' Nolan said. ``We're going to do everything we can to keep him.''
Smyth, who was acquired in a trade-deadline deal, and Blake can become unrestricted free agents on July 1.
Yashin came to the Islanders in a trade after the 2000-01 season. New York signed him to a 10-year contract worth $87.5 million. The four years left on the deal are worth $26.45 million. The Islanders can buy Yashin out by paying two-thirds of the remaining amount ($17.63 million) over the next eight years for a salary-cap hit of about $2.2 million per season.
Snow said the Islanders' decision was based on discussions among team officials and that Yashin was disappointed when he learned of the buyout Tuesday.
seasons and I believe that we would not have been able to do that without him.''
Yashin had his best season with the Islanders in 2001-02 when he scored 32 goals and had 43 assists in 78 games.
``I believe this is in the best interests of the team and player. ... `` Nolan said. ``Alexei will have the opportunity to pursue a fresh start and we'll look at options to fill his position.''

NHL Top Stories

Thumbnail Allen, St. Louis run into red-hot Detroit Having captured five contests in a row, the Red Wings look exactly like the team that terrorized the Blues for years in the Central Division. Tonight, St....
Thumbnail Chicago hopes to hammer Calgary tonight The Blackhawks don’t resemble their usual selves through the first six games of the season. Fortunately for the Windy City faithful, a get-well card should...
Thumbnail Confident Canadiens welcome Philly to town   The Canadiens emerged victorious from their wide-open battle against Boston over the weekend. Will Michel Therrien’s club be able to thrive at a more...
Thumbnail Anaheim searching for early-season traction After commencing the season with four straight wins, Vancouver finally fell last night in shootout fashion. Will Willie...
Thumbnail Wild's top threat tries to snap out of funk Minnesota’s off to a 3-1-1 start despite getting no production from its best offensive player. But will Zach Parise finally light the lamp today?
More inNHL Articles  

NHL Team Pages