The New York Islanders stayed put at the trade deadline. They will play the remainder of the season with the lineup that they currently have.
It was another quiet trade deadline for the New York Islanders. Today marked the 12th year in a row that they did not make a big-time addition at the NHL’s trade deadline, while numerous other teams improved their roster.
2006-2007 was the last time the Islanders made a big splash at the deadline when they acquired Ryan Smyth of the Edmonton Oilers. Since then, the Isles have acquired the likes of Brandon Davidson, Chris Wagner, Shane Prince, and Tyler Kennedy to name a few.
One shouldn’t be overly surprised, but this year was supposed to be different. The Islanders have a competent coach and a competent General Manager in Lou Lamoriello. Plus, they have a first place team which is usually a rarity by this point in the season.
Instead of selling off future assets, the Islanders decided to stay put. Lamoriello was quoted by saying:
"“We weren’t going to get into a situation where we sacrificed what our plan is because we feel very good about this hockey team”"
Here’s why I disagree with that logic. It’s not every year you’re presented with the opportunity that the Islanders are in. Everything has broken right for this team this year, they’re a special team, but there’s no guarantee that they’re in the same position next year.
Regardless, the Isles had a chance to put themselves over the top but instead stayed exactly the same likely limiting their ceiling to a second round bow out. Looking at teams in similar situations almost all of them improved.
The Golden Knights are in third place in their Division, four points up of the Avalanche who are on the outside looking in. Vegas is brutal on the power play, sitting 23rd in the league (one spot ahead of the Islanders).
They went out and got Mark Stone for their 2017 first round pick (Erik Brannstrom), Oscar Lindberg (a below average NHL player), and their 2020 second round pick. Oh yeah, and they signed him to an eight-year contract after.
Now, maybe Stone didn’t want to sign here, or maybe the Islanders would’ve had to give up more to get him. Regardless, to sit here past the 3:00 pm deadline with the same roster is pretty dumbfounding.
The Isles top-six still has glaring weaknesses. This team is in first place, for now, and will still be a playoff team, they just might’ve missed the boat on making this year truly special, and that’s a real shame because the fans deserved it.