It happened again, or did it?
The expected occurred on Sunday night when talented winger Alex DeBrincat was dealt from the Ottawa Senators to the Detroit Red Wings in a package for Dominik Kubalik, Donovan Sebrango, a conditional 1st-round pick, and a 4th-round pick in 2024.
Is losing out on Alex DeBrincat the latest NY Islanders failure?
Things had been headed in that direction for days and seemed inevitable once Detroit cleared cap space by waiving Filip Zadina for purposes of contract termination last week. Nevertheless, fans and critics (or both!) of the New York Islanders looked at the DeBrincat saga as the latest example of a top off-season target ending up elsewhere after being linked to the Isles.
For some, DeBrincat being traded to Detroit and then signing a four-year extension at $7.75 AAV proved once again that players don't want to play on Long Island and GM Lou Lamoriello is failing to do what's necessary to put his team over the top.
In 2019, the Islanders were in hot pursuit of Artemi Panarin, only for the forward to use the Isles as leverage to get a higher contract offer from the rival New York Rangers. Last summer, playmaker Johnny Gaudreau was reportedly choosing between the Islanders and New Jersey Devils all day when he surprisingly picked the Columbus Blue Jackets to be closer to his home in ... New Jersey.
That was followed by weeks of being assured that Nazem Kadri was signed and sealed, just not delivered, only to have him head to the Calgary Flames on a seven-year contract after Lamoriello was unable to move salary to fit Kadri under the cap.
All of these cases are different in their own ways, but each adds to the narrative that the Islanders can't land the 'big fish' when competing with other teams around the league.