The New York Islanders lost their fourth game in a row against Colorado last night. With another mediocre offensive effort, it is time to panic, and time to stand pat on any trades for the remainder of the season.
For the first time under the Lou Lamoriello and Barry Trotz era, the New York Islanders lost four games in a row and, oh boy, are the fans in full-on panic mode. And they should be. It is evident that this team as constructed, will not make a deep run in the playoffs.
It has been clear since the start of the season that the Islanders need offensive help. When they are playing exceptional defense the team can win, but when their goalies and defense are no better than average, they struggle to win games and we are seeing that now.
That being said, I do not believe that Islanders should make any trades for offensive rental help. Does anyone really think that the team will win the Stanley Cup or go deep in the playoffs with one top-six forward rental? I do not and historically those trades make little to no difference.
Twitter is on fire about Lou, how ineffective he has been in getting top talent, not making trades, etc. I think Lou is being smart and strategic and there are still long-range goals to consider:
1. The team is not winning the cup this year
As I wrote earlier in the season, I believe ownership and Lou are managing this team to peak for their Belmont “homecoming.”
A rental player will not help them long term and for those screaming for Lou’s head, he has tried to trade for and sign elite players. They have gone elsewhere.
It takes more than two years to change a losing culture, and, get players to want to play on Long Island or Brooklyn, or is it Long Island. Get it? The new arena is a big deal in so many ways.
2. The team needs to be reconstructed this summer
If it were me, I would ride out the rest of the season and then reconstruct the team this summer. Sign Barzal to a long term deal and then start targeting UFA’s and trades that improve the offense.
The Islanders have cap space but their prospect pool is not great so Lou will have to be creative. Lou has shown that he can be and I still believe he is a quality GM.
To those that say that identify and team chemistry will change with a makeover, good. Because “Islander Hockey” is losing hockey the last three months.
3. Time to play the kids, a lot
There is a debate on whether Trotz likes to play prospects. If I’m Trotz, for the rest of the season I would give Bellows and Dobson more ice time. If these are the kids that are going to be part of the future get them playing time under pressure. This will help them mature and learn ahead of next season and give the staff time to evaluate them at the NHL level.
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Is it time to panic, yes, if you really care about making the playoffs and being bumped in the first or second round. This team is in serious need of offensive help and the time to improve that is this summer.
Of course, by the time the trade deadline comes around Lou could do something dramatic and all the above is rubbish, we will see.