There are two wildly incorrect narratives floating about regarding the New York Islanders recently that need to be debunked. First, this is Garth Snow‘s team and not Lou Lamoriello’s team, and the second one is that Lou has done more harm than good for this team.
Both are, as you’ve probably already stated out loud are wildly incorrect. So let’s dive in on why both are incorrect narratives about the New York Islanders.
Incorrect narratives about the New York Islanders
First up, “this is Garth’s team” and not Lou’s team. That narrative was put forward by The Athletic’s Thomas Drance via Twitter earlier this week.
Sure, on the surface this is correct. The ‘core’ of this team is Garth’s, he was in charge for eleven years after all while Lou has only been around for three years now. Most of the players were either drafted, traded for, or signed in free agency by Garth Snow. The only what that wouldn’t be true is if the Isles entered a full rebuild and we know that didn’t happen.
But Lou’s fingerprints are all over this team:
- Jean-Gabriel Pageau
- Andy Greene
- Ilya Sorokin
- Matt Martin
- Leo Komarov
- Kyle Palmieri
- Travis Zajac
- Noah Dobson
- Oliver Wahlstrom
All of these players were brought in by Lou Lamoriello. That’s 45% of the active roster. And that’s not considering all the pending free agents that chose to re-sign with the Isles because of the moves that Lou Lamoriello made, specifically signing Barry Trotz.
Think about Brock Nelson. Does he stay with the Islanders as a pending free agent if not for that resurgence under Trotz in 2018-19? Remember, he went from a 35 point third-line winger in 17-18 to a 53 point second-line center in 18-19.
This is very much Lou Lamoriello’s team and not Garth’s. Thinking otherwise is ridiculous.
Isles aren’t better off?
The Islanders are getting set for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup semi-finals but there’s a ridiculous narrative that just popped up. Lou has hurt the Islanders more than he’s helped.
Again, the Islanders are in the Stanley Cup semi-finals. And it’s the second time in two years. But Lou’s has hurt the Isles. In what world is that remotely true? Of course, this comes from a fanbase north of the border that has a hard time taking its own advice.
Islanders fans are told by Leaf fans to let go of the Tavares drama, but those very same fans will drudge up these nonsensical narratives for…reasons.
The crux of the argument is that Lou’s trades and signings have actively hurt the team’s potential.
I know the team has few superstar players and that the ‘core’ is a group of 30-year-old vets on big contracts. And because of some of those deals, a guy like Devon Toews has to be traded. Again, both of those are true.
But those deals have pushed this team into the club of elite NHL teams. Since Lou took over, the Isles hold the tenth-best regular-season record in the NHL (four points less than the Leafs by the way). When it comes to the playoffs, the Islanders are tied for the second-most wins at 26 (only the Lightning have more with 28).
Maybe in a few years the Islanders won’t be as competitive and some of those deals won’t look good. They’ve also traded away two first-round picks and a young puck-moving defenseman. But isn’t that what elite teams do? When the window is open they mortgage the future to win a Cup. And the moves Lou made are actively helping his team get there.
Lou hired Trotz, he re-signed Pulock (who’s an elite-level defenseman), he signed Varlamov (who should have won the Vezina this year), he traded for Pageau (who out-classed Patrice Bergeon in the second round), he traded for Palmieri (who’s tied for third in playoff goals), he drafted Dobson (who leads defensemen for points).
That article ends with Lou Lamoriello “lucking” into Barry Trotz. And that has been his only positive contribution to the club.
While sure, Barry became available at the right time. But Lou still had to persuade the recent Stanley Cup winner to come to Long Island. That’s not something that has been done in the past. When was the last time the Islanders hired a Stanley Cup-winning coach?
To say Lou has actively hurt this team is ridiculous beyond belief. The Islanders are in back-to-back semi-finals something only one other team can boast (the Lightning) and it’s because of Lou Lamoriello.