Elliotte Friedman Discusses Brock Nelson, Noah Dobson and NY Islanders Lack of Youth on 32 Thoughts

Vancouver Canucks v New York Islanders
Vancouver Canucks v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

We’re only six days into the NY Islanders off-season and the gears are spinning on what needs to be done to turn this team into a serious Stanley Cup contender. 

One sentiment that has been passed around is the team’s age. While the core of the team is, for the most part, in their primes, there’s nobody coming up within the ranks and nobody to push these players for jobs. 

“We’ve talked about this a billion times, they an infusion of youth, like, around the organization,” said Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet in his 32 Thoughts Podcast. “Right, they just don’t have enough people pushing for jobs. And that is something they really need to improve on is the amount of young players.”

The Islanders have the 32nd-ranked prospect pool in the NHL, according to Scott Wheeler of The Athletic. They haven’t made a first-round selection since 2019 when they selected Simon Holmstrom, and their top prospects appear to be 5th-round picks Matthew Maggio and William Dufour, along with second-round picks Calle Odelius and Danny Nelson

One way to get younger would be to move one of their established players, with Brock Nelson being the most likely option at the moment. Nelson has one year remaining on his contract before hitting free agency. Nelson will turn 33 at the start of the 2024-25 season.

"You could get a lot for Nelson in a trade, there's no question," said Friedman " However, I look at it this way. Brock Nelson loves the Islanders and cares a lot about the Islanders. He's still got a lot of hockey left. If you're making that deal, you better make sure there is a tangible benefit to making that deal. Because you're taking someone out that really cares about your team and leaving a big hole in your roster."

Perhaps the most important decision the Islanders will need to make this off-season is whether or not they'll extend Noah Dobson a year before his contract is set to expire.

The Islanders missed the bus two years ago to extend Dobson to a team-friendly, long-term deal -instead opting to give him a bridge deal worth $4M annually. Now, it appears Dobson's camp will be driving the negotiations and have every right to demand an 8-year deal worth $8M a season. So Lou Lamoriello will have to decide whether to extend their defenseman now or wait until next season when he becomes an RFA.

"I think you always look to lock them up as early as possible," Friedman says. "It's the old line, 'Players like that never get less expensive.' The price is only going up. So I'm sure they're going to be looking to lock him up right away."

It's going to be a busy off-season for the Islanders with the potential to see more turnover than we have in the past. At least there will need to be if they hope to be a serious Stanley Cup contender.