Islanders confirm interest in Alexei Yashin

There appears to be some truth to the rumors that Alexei Yashin is considering a return to the NHL after spending the last four seasons playing abroad.

New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow confirmed today that he has had talks with Yashin’s agent, Mark Gandler, about the possibility of Yashin returning to the Islanders.

“I’ve had discussions with both Mark and Alexei,” Snow told Newsday on Friday. “I’d rather keep those conversations private, but Alexei has been skating at our practice rink in Syosset and he looks great. I’ve been on record saying I’d explore all options and any player that would improve our team and help us make that step.”

Yashin spent five seasons with the Islanders before being bought out of his contract at the conclusion of the 2006-07 season. He played in the KHL for the next four seasons.

Yashin’s agent also confirmed the contract negotiations and admitted that the Islanders have offered his client an NHL contract.

“At this time we are negotiating with the Islanders and are seriously considering their offer,” he told the Russian news site Sovietsky Sport. He also stated that the Islanders are the only team showing interest in his client.

At this point, this could all be a ploy by Yashin’s agent to start a bidding war either between rival NHL clubs or between NHL and KHL clubs to drive up the price for Yashin. And even if Yashin signs with the Islanders it will likely be for more than he deserves because the Islanders are currently $9 million below the $48.3 million salary cap floor – which is probably why Yashin is seriously considering the offer.

But at 37-years-old, it’s tough to determine how effective Yashin will be in the NHL after spending four seasons away. In 52 games last season with St. Petersburg SKA, Yashin only managed 15 goals 18 assists in a league largely viewed as having less talented players than the NHL. Could Yashin actually benefit from playing with talented young players such as John Tavares, Kyle Okposo, Michael Grabner and Matt Moulson? More so, will those budding young stars benefit from playing alongside the likes of Alexei Yashin?

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