In an exit interview for the 2020 season, Islanders General Manager, Lou Lamoriello says the focus will be “keeping our team together”.
With the season officially over as of yesterday, Lou Lamoriello decided to speak to the media today in an exit interview. The Islanders GM hit on a few topics, one of which was free agency and the Isles plan.
Lou, in typical Lou fashion, didn’t say much with this quote but there’s a chance of reading between the lines when it comes to his take on free agency (quote transcribed from Arthur Staple).
"“If we can get better externally, we’ll do that. But right now we’re focused on how we can keep our team together.”"
It’s going to be a challenge for Lamoriello to keep this team together. As of right now, he has $8.9 million of cap space to work with and has Mathew Barzal, Ryan Pulock, and Devon Toews to sign as RFA’s.
Mitch and I discussed this on one of the recent Patreon Podcasts, but the Isles are likely to need somewhere around $18 million to get the three of those guys signed to an extension going forward.
So the Isles have to stumble into $10 million of cap space, whether that is by trading off pieces or acquiring cap hits to put on LTIR is yet to be seen. Regardless, I think it’s going to be extremely complicated to keep this group together.
Johnny Boychuk, Nick Leddy, Thomas Hickey, Andrew Ladd, and Leo Komarov are all candidates who could be out the door. Maybe Devon Toews can be traded, and you don’t have to worry about signing him to an extension?
The flat cap heading into next year does the Isles no favors, so when Lou says they’re focused on keeping the team to me that says that they will take care of their own and more than likely be quiet in acquiring outside talent.
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Yes, to me there is still a hole for a goal scorer but maybe that is an internal fix with Oliver Wahlstrom or Kieffer Bellows in Lou’s mind. Lamoriello is hard to pin down so this can obviously change, but for now, I have a feeling it’s going to be a summer of retention rather than a summer of growth from external sources.