The New York Islanders and GM Lou Lamoriello have been heavily involved in the free agent rumor mill. The subject of the said rumor is free agent winger, Johnny Gaudreau.
Gaudreau informed his now former club, the Calgary Flames, that he won't be returning to his home for eight seasons and will be testing the free agent market. Gaudreau grew up a Philadelphia Flyers fan and all indications are that he would like to return to the area.
Sounds all too familiar, right?
At this point, the Islanders seem to be involved in a three-team race for Gaudreau. The Philadelphia Flyers and New Jersey Devils are heavily involved, and the Devils seem to be in the lead. Gaudreau is a player that would bring the Islanders back into the contender fold immediately. This is the type of signing that Lamoriello has been attempting for years after missing out on John Tavares and Artemi Panarin.
Rumors are always taken with a grain of salt when it comes to Lamoriello, but the similarities between the rumors when Panarin was a pending UFA and now Gaudreau are all too similar. Lamoriello must have a plan B if Gaudreau decides to choose closer to his home.
It is interesting that Lamoriello potentially passed on a draft-day deal to acquire J.T. Miller and eventually trade for Alender Romanov. Does Lou know that he can get a forward in another transaction?
At noon, free agency will open in a frenzy, and it appears that Gaudreau could make his decision quickly. If the Islanders fail to sign Gaudreau, be prepared for a quiet rest of the day. The pursuit beyond signing Gaudreau may involve trades and other moves around the NHL to come to fruition.
Similar to last summer, Lamoriello will take his time and work quietly while things play out.