The New York Islanders and owner Charles Wang are listening to offers from potential suitors from municipalities outside of Nassau County, according to Chris Botta at Islanders Point Blank. And yes, by "outside of Nassau County," we mean outside of New York State, too.
Wang does not want to leave Nassau County, and staying put remains his first choice. But when I asked top executives to confirm that Wang will only consider overtures from municipalities within the New York metropolitan area, I could not get a promise on or off the record.
"I can't guarantee that anymore," said one source on high. "They are looking at options inside and outside of New York State. It would be misleading to say New York only."
The local politics surrounding the story are absolutely fascinating -- although if you live in Nassau County, you might just have a different opinion on that -- and are outlined well in the article. We won't try to delve into them here, because we're certainly ignorant in comparison. Instead, we'll stick to the implications for the hockey team.
There are plenty of options for the Islanders on Long Island, and Wang has proven that he wants both Nassau County and Long Island to be the home of his club for the very long-term future. He could have sold the team years ago to a group from Winnipeg or Kansas City or Quebec City if that weren't the case, and he would have saved a ton of money in the process. Just as True North did with the Atlanta Thrashers, ownership from Quebec City would open the wallet for the chance to purchase the Islanders, and Wang could take that right to the bank if that was his priority.
It's obviously not, though, and this shouldn't be seen as the death of the Islanders on Long Island for that reason They could move to Suffolk County or to Queens or, as we all know, to Barclay's Center in Brooklyn. A deal could be reached at the Coliseum site in Nassau County. There are plenty of options in the New York area.
There are three years before the Islanders lease expires at the Coliseum, and Wang is certainly going to use that as a bargaining chip as much as he can. He's going to use the possibility of the Islanders leaving the New York-area altogether as a bargaining chip, too.
It's looking more and more like the Islanders could leave Nassau County, the place they've called home since birth. fIf that happens, it's really a question of just how far they wind up moving.