On the first day of free agency in 2010, the New York Islanders made signing defenseman Paul Martin their priority. The first moment GM Garth Snow was allowed to call, he was on the phone with Martin making a pitch. Islanders forward Doug Weight also called to heat up the recruitment.
They pointed out the young talent that Snow was accumulating, including future star John Tavares, selected with the No. 1 overall pick the previous June.
Snow ultimately made Martin the biggest offer he would receive during his time in free agency. Substantially bigger than anything else on the table.
Instead, he signed a five-year, $25 million contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins. When Martin's agent Ben Hankinson broke the news to Snow, part of his reason was that he wasn't sure Martin would enjoy playing in the Nassau Coliseum the next five seasons. Especially contrasted against the new building that was being finished in Pittsburgh at the time.
"It's just a team that lost their identity in the fact that there was so much turmoil around the organization with the building and the uncertainty," said Hankinson on Wednesday after news broke about the Islanders moving to Brooklyn. "They were selling youth, and it was tough to predict if the youth was even going to be there in a few years."
Wednesday's news eases some of that uncertainty. Once the lease with the Nassau Coliseum is done, the Islanders will move to one of the most state-of-the-art arenas in North America, even if it's not an ideal layout for hockey.
There are no more concerns about a possible Islanders move to Kansas City or Seattle. There are no more concerns about playing in an outdated building.
Now, with those issues out of the equation, will the Islanders be able to finally attract free-agent talent?
To see why some free agents may remain skeptical of joining the Islanders, you must be an ESPN Insider.