Milbury Puts Beezer
On the Block
By PETER BOTTE
Daily News Sports Writer
Islanders GM Mike Milbury says he will trade John Vanbiesbrouck, if
that's what the veteran goalie wants. Vanbiesbrouck says
his "preference" is to remain with the Islanders, but admits "things
With the arrival of Rick DiPietro â" the franchise's latest goalie of
the future â" Milbury has faxed all 29 other NHL clubs to alert them
he intends to move either Vanbiesbrouck or backup Wade Flaherty
before the team reconvenes Wednesday after this weekend's All-Star
"There are a lot of things that have to be discussed this weekend,"
Vanbiesbrouck said last night after backstopping the Isles to a 3-2
win over the Devils.
While also asking Vanbiesbrouck to consider signing a contract
extension to serve as DiPietro's mentor/insurance policy for next
season, Milbury added he has given the goalie and agent Lloyd
Friedland the opportunity to broker their own trade "to see what's
Still, his mind could be changed if contending teams such as
Carolina, Pittsburgh, Ottawa, Detroit and St. Louis show interest in
him before the March 13 trade deadline.
Both Vanbiesbrouck, who earns $3.5 million, and Flaherty, who earns
$450,000, will be unrestricted free agents this summer.
The Islanders likely would consider bringing back the 37-year-old
Vanbiesbrouck next season at roughly half this year's salary, roughly
one third of which is being picked up by the Flyers.
"I would like John to consider that," Milbury said. "I know it's been
a tough year for him. The guy's done everything we've asked, he's
worked extremely hard and has been a positive force in the locker
room. Like all of us, he's baffled that we haven't produced better
"But at this stage in his career, he deserves any opportunity to
explore any options that might be available to him."
Vanbiesbrouck strongly denied a report last week that he was seeking
a trade. "I'm going to try to make that as clear as I can," he said
DiPietro, the No.1 overall selection in the 2000 draft, will make his
second NHL start tonight in Philadelphia.
"There's no sense having him here if he's not going to play," Milbury
Run of the Mil: Despite the seventh straight season without a playoff
appearance â" his sixth as GM â" Milbury gave the impression owner
Charles Wang has indicated to him he somehow might avoid the firing
line this summer.
"There are no excuses for this season and at the end of the year all
of us will be evaluated. Usually in cases like this, there are some
changes. But in the end, I'd like to think we'd get another crack at
it," Milbury said.