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Islanders: How aggressively should Lamoriello hunt for Lee replacement?

EAST MEADOW, NEW YORK - JANUARY 04: General Manager Lou Lamoriello of the New York Islanders attends practice during training camp at Northwell Health Ice Center at Eisenhower Park on January 04, 2021 in East Meadow, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
EAST MEADOW, NEW YORK - JANUARY 04: General Manager Lou Lamoriello of the New York Islanders attends practice during training camp at Northwell Health Ice Center at Eisenhower Park on January 04, 2021 in East Meadow, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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The New York Islanders will be buyers at the trade deadline, that much is clear. Their the second-best team in the NHL and have a glaring need in their top-six. Having Leo Komarov skate in Anders Lee‘s spot isn’t a sustainable option and has gone on for three games longer than it should have.

A few days ago Pierre LeBrun published a chat with the Islanders GM (subscription required). There, the veteran writer asked the veteran GM about his plan for the upcoming trade deadline. Of course, Lou wasn’t 100% clear with LeBrun, as is the norm for Lou, but he did state that he’s looking and that his list is short.

With a short list, Lou is giving himself many options to improve his team (at least temporarily). Should he aggressively pursue those options before others step in or can he sit and wait till he gets the right price? How aggressive should Lou be in acquiring a player?

The New York Islanders are winning, so no rush

Since Anders Lee went down with a season-ending injury, the Isles have gone 5-2-0 for ten points from a possible 14. They’re eighth in points-percentage since the captain went down.

They’ve also received balanced offense and defense since Lee went down. Over that stretch, they’re getting 3.00 goals-for per game (eighth in the NHL) and are only allowing 2.29 goals-against per game (ninth in the NHL).

[Rankings from NHL.com]

Of course, they need to get a replacement to play on the top line but they’re playing well enough that their GM can take the time he needs to pay the right price.

Even when the team was in full free-fall last year after Adam Pelech‘s season-ending injury, Lou didn’t make a move until he paid an acceptable price for Andy Greene and then Jean-Gabriel Pageau.

The trade market is jammed up now. Selling GM’s have established a line and aren’t ready to walk away from it to make a deal. Think of those GMs as the Evergreen running ashore in the metaphorical NHL trade market canal and blocking anything from getting through.

Which suits Lou Lamoriello’s “if you have time take it approach”. The veteran GM will make a trade to replace Anders Lee (as best he can) but Lou won’t be forced to overpay.

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