32 Teams In 32 Days: New York Islanders
They missed out on another top free agent this offseason. What are they going to do now?
In Today’s 32 Team outlook we examine the New York Islanders and general manager Lou Lamoriello.
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Free agent forward Nazem Kadri signed a seven-year, $49 million contract with the Calgary Flames on Thursday, removing what was probably the last of the top free agents from the market this offseason.
What exactly does this have to do with today’s team, the New York Islanders?
Well, by signing with Calgary it means that he did not sign with the Islanders — something that had been speculated for a couple of weeks — leaving them without a significant addition to their roster in late August. There is still time for that to change, of course, but it is going to have to come via trade at this point, and even then they have missed out on a lot.
The Islanders are coming off of a disappointing 2021-22 campaign that saw them finish in fifth place in the Metropolitan Division, ninth place in the Eastern Conference, and 16 points behind the last playoff team. They finished that far back despite getting elite goaltending from Ilya Sorokin and Semyon Varlamov all season. You can point to the early season COVID/scheduling issues and injuries that resulted in a double-digit losing streak if you want, but even outside of that stretch they still played below a playoff level.
They are desperate for more playmakers and impact players at forward beyond Matthew Barzal, and they simply need an upgrade in talent.
Their offseason — to this point — has seen them fire one of the best coaches in the league (Barry Trotz), replace him internally (Lane Lambert), trade the No. 13 overall pick for a total project/wild card in Alexander Romanov, and ….. that is it.
They missed on Alex DeBrincant. They missed on Kevin Fiala. They missed on Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk. They missed on Kadri. They missed on literally everybody that has been available this offseason.
Could they still swing a trade for somebody like, say, J.T. Miller? Sure. But they still have to have something to offer and a way to make salary work. It is just hard to imagine at this point that they have some trick hidden up their sleeves.
Other than a coaching change and Romanov they are bringing back the same roster as last year. A roster that over the past three years (even when it was winning) has been one of the worst offensive teams in the league.
There are two things happening here that are worth digging into.
The team’s current salary cap management that has apparently impacted its ability to add players. And….
Whether or not general manager Lou Lamoriello has an issue attracting (or retaining) star players to his rosters.
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