The New York Islanders missed out on plan A after Artemi Panarin signed with the New York Rangers. So what’s plan B?
Ryan Dzingel was the last attractive player available on the unrestricted free agency market. By signing a two-year deal with the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday, it effectively shuts the door on the New York Islanders adding to their roster through free agency. And it’s creating a lot of frustration and anxiety for fans.
And rightfully so.
Leading up to free agency, the Islanders were linked with
. The plan at that time seemed to be to strengthen the roster via free agency. But after Panarin chose the Rangers the Islanders did nothing else to strengthen the roster. So what’s plan B?
Not An Unreasonable Request
To be fair to Islanders fans, it’s not an unreasonable request to ask what the plan is now. At this point last year we knew what the plan was.
With the loss of John Tavares and signing Valtteri Filppula, Leo Komarov, and then Tom Kuhnhackl in free agency we knew the plan was going to be driven by character players and by out-working the other team. We didn’t like it, but we knew that was the plan.
On July 12th of last year, Lou Lamoriello sat with Stan Fischler to discuss taking over the New York Islanders, and why he decided to bring in guys like Filppula and Komarov:
"In a relatively short time, he’s [Lamoriello] added six players, all with one common trait so dear to The Boss, character."
Now fast forward to this year and the plan is what exactly? Looking at what Lou was trying to do this offseason it’s clear he wants to add another top-level forward to the group. But now that he’s struck out on Panarin and brought no one else in he’s not leaving himself with too many options.
The Islanders can’t ice what would effectively be the same roster as last season and hope to have a similar record. The lack of talent on the roster is glaring. So again, what’s plan B?
With Dzingel gone the window is now closed on free agency. Is the plan still to look at exterior options to strengthen the roster? Or will Lou now turn to internal options and use his strong system to fill any gaps in the NHL roster?
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By this time last season, we had a sense of what the Islanders were going to be in 2018-19. But a year later, we have no idea what the Islanders are trying to do. And it’s leading to a lot of questions about next season and leading to a lot of frustration early into the offseason.
It would be nice to know what the plan is now as we head into the dog days of summer. A simple radio blast, a sign of life. Something to give some sort of sign that there’s a plan for next season. Because as it stands the Islanders are going into the 2019-20 season with the same team as last year, and I doubt it does better.