The New York Islanders were one of only two teams to do “nothing” on the opening day of free agency. The Isles and the St Louis Blues were the only “inactive” teams.
I say “nothing” and “inactive” because the Islanders didn’t make an official signing. But if we know anything about Lou Lamoriello it’s that he’ll announce signings when he’s good and ready. We didn’t find out about the Matt Martin and Andy Greene signings till much later.
But, for just a second, let’s assume the Islanders keep all of their players (RFAs and UFAs) and bring in Zach Parise. What does the forward roster look like compared to the roster that lost to Tampa in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Semi-Finals?
Comparing New York Islanders forward from Game 7 to now
I’m only looking at the forward group now because it seems like it might be complete while we know there’s a big gap to fill on the blue line.
I’m also assuming that everyone is healthy. Players coming back from injuries are important “acquisitions”. Think of them as free agent signings or trades that didn’t require the Isles to give anything up.
So, here’s the Islanders forward lines from Game 7 against Tampa:
Remember, this forward group was essentially two goals away from going to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Now, Anders Lee and his monster-quads will be back and healthy as will Oliver Wahlstrom. I’m assuming Beau (RFA), as well as Palmieri and Cizikas (UFAs), are back. And it seems that Zach Parise is also signed.
So, with all of that, this is what the Islanders lineup looks like:
Doens’t that look like a better roster? Just on paper? Anders Lee up top with Mathew Barzal and Kyle Palmieri is a huge upgrade to having Leo Komarov up there. Perhaps Palmieri isn’t an upgrade over Eberle, but it’s at least a 1:1 swap so there’s nothing lost there.
Parise is an upgrade over Komarov on the third line. Now, of course, Leo perhaps has more “intangibles” over Parise, but Parise brings more tangibles. Like goals.
Now things can change of course, but as things stand today and as we understand them, this is a much-improved roster offensively. There’s no question.