The New York Islanders are a work in progress. To retool this roster and turn them into a contender, President and General Manager Lou Lamoriello will have to make trades. When might he do that?
You call it a rebuild. You can call it a retool. Call it what you will but the New York Islanders aren’t in a win-now mode. As opposed to what the previous President and General Manager might have thought just a few months ago.
Even if this team had John Tavares in the lineup, the Islanders would need some work done to the roster in order to become a true contender right now.
Lou already has a number of blue-chip prospects at his disposal across every single position. From Kieffer Bellows, Josh Ho-Sang, and Oliver Wahlstrom up front. To Devon Toews and Noah Dobson on the blueline. To Ilya Sorokin and Linus Soderstrom in nets.
If Lou is going to add NHL caliber quality to support his group of kids he’s going to have to do so via trade. Based on his record, when is Lou most likely to make a trade? When could we see him pick up the phone and make a deal?
Lou’s been around since 1987, so there’s a large sample size when trying to figure out his peak month of activity when it comes to trades. Since 1987 he’s conducted 170 trades between the New Jersey Devils, Toronto Maple Leafs, and the New York Islanders.
Here’s how his trade history has panned out month-by-month.
First and foremost, we need to eliminate February, March, and June. Lou is clearly active across all three months, but so is evey GM in the league. February and March are generally the trade deadline for the season and June is the draft when every GM is in the same room for hours. Deals are going to get done in those months.
Which leaves November as Lou’s most active period with 13 trades in his career to date. January isn’t too far away with 12.
So what does that mean exactly?
Lou knows when he needs to change things up and does so early. November is two months into the season, or between 13 and 24 games into the NHL season. If Lou sees something that needs to change he’ll change it. Lou acts decisively.
Going into the 2018-19 season Lou has more than enough bottom six depth to make some interesting moves. Valtteri Filppula, Andrew Ladd, and Leo Komarov have trade protection so they might not move. But that still leaves Cal Clutterbuck, Casey Cizikas, Ross Johnston, and Tom Kuhnhackl.
Sending one or two with a good prospect could yield an even better asset for the Islanders forward core or give them some better options defensively.
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Lou Lamoriello has his work cut out for him in 2018-19. Trades are going to be a huge avenue for him to retool this roster and become competitive.