3 moves GM Lou Lamoriello made that saved the NY Islanders season
Trading for Pierre Engvall at the deadline
When the trade deadline came, it was uncertain whether the Islanders would "stand pat" this time around. They had already made their big move in acquiring Bo Horvat from the Vancouver Canucks, but had lost Mathew Barzal to injury on Feb. 18 and were in need of forward depth and one thing they lacked even before Barzal missed time - speed.
Enter Pierre Engvall, someone Lamoriello was familiar with from his time in Toronto. Lamoriello moved a 2024 3rd round pick to the Maple Leafs for the physically talented and versatile forward at a time when the team was down Barzal, Cal Clutterbuck, JG Pageau and Oliver Wahlstrom.
The 26-year-old had shown flashes during this career and has always carried upside potential greater than his production, and the change of scenery heading into unrestricted free agency seemed to light a fire under Engvall. After a few early games where he was benched in the third period with Lane Lambert citing unfamiliarity with the team's style and structure, the tall and lean speedster found a home on a line with Brock Nelson and Kyle Palmieri that performed as the team's top line during the playoff push in March and April.
Lamoriello's calling card with the Islanders has been to retain players he has acquired. “We’ll take one thing at a time,” Lamoriello said after making the trade “He’s certainly an individual that you’d like to keep in your organization with the style he plays and his speed. I can’t overemphasize his speed.”
After finishing the season with a career-high 17 goals - including five goals and four assists with the Islanders in 18 games, an Engvall extension is expected to be an off-season priority, especially if he can leave a mark in the post-season, something he failed to do with Toronto.