The New York Islanders played a complete game against a team ahead of them in the standings last night. The Columbus Blue Jackets visited UBS Arena for the first time and were dealt a 6-0 defeat. This will be the first of three games played against the Blue Jackets this month.
The performance reminds us of how capable this team is of playing strong hockey. The accomplishments of the last two visits to the Eastern Conference Finals were not too far in the distance.
The team has been dealt some difficult circumstances this season and most teams would similarly struggle against these odds.
The Islanders have six games remaining on the schedule before the NHL trade deadline.
Buyers or Sellers?
This has been a lost season in eyes of most fans, but the team has played more consistently since Covid ran through the team and the NHL.
The veterans appear to have given all they can for Barry Trotz and Lou Lamoriello, but are the brain trust of the Islanders ready to give up on this current group?
The standings may provide management the easy answer to this question by having to sell off not only the pending UFA’s but other key pieces from the last two seasons.
All Islanders fans have waited for this team to make a significant run during the season to no avail. What if the Islanders win the remaining six games before the deadline?
Would this give Lamoriello enough of a reason to keep this team intact and play out the rest of the season? Would they refresh and try one more shot with this group next season before calling it quits?
As of today, the Islanders are chasing the Washington Capitals for the last wild card spot. The Capitals are 20 points ahead of the Islanders. The Islanders have five games in hand on the Capitals. One of the remaining games before the deadline is against the Capitals.
The Capitals have four other games prior to the deadline and one against the division-leading, Carolina Hurricanes.
If Lamoriello is torn on trading away the veterans, would a seven-game winning streak sway him? The Islanders could get close to 10 points back with 22 games remaining.
The team has a solid core of youngsters and veterans, but it would be smart hockey business to unload the pendings free agents and make bigger moves in the summer.