The 2021-22 NHL season has officially closed with Devon Toews and the Colorado Avalanche defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning to win the Stanley Cup. The Lightning did not three-peat and the New York Islanders fan base can now sleep calmly and enjoy their summers.
The NHL free agency rapidly approaches, but the next main event for the NHL is the draft in July.
The Islanders have spent many years in the top 5 but have not had high draft positions of late with the recent success. This year the Islanders sit with the 13th overall pick.
New York Islanders Immediate and Future Needs
When push comes to shove, this Islanders roster is made up of veterans towards the back end of their respective careers. This does not immediately make this team a Cup contender, but it certainly makes them a playoff contender.
With that said, the Islanders will need adjustments to the lineup to return to the playoffs and go on a run. The likelihood of a 13th overall pick being that final piece is not strong.
On the other hand, the veterans will need to leave at some point soon and a new class of youth will need to be ready to take the reins.
The Islanders are top-heavy when it comes to prospects in the organization. Aatu Raty and William Dufour are the class of the few and both enjoyed tremendous seasons.
Samuel Bolduc suffered a sophomore slump in the AHL but could be more due to injuries than talent.
Then you have players like Robin Salo, Kieffer Bellows, and Oliver Wahlstrom that are young and contributed at the NHL level. This season will be very important in determining if they have peaked or still have the potential to become elite players.
The organization could absolutely use another prospect in the system with the 13th pick, but can that pick be used to truly upgrade the current roster?
The value of the 13th pick is not that of a top 5 pick, but it should also not be sacrificed unnecessarily.
This Islanders team is very solid and showed signs of that last season, but like many teams, they are flawed. Lou Lamoriello will need to be willing to make multiple changes to this roster if the 13th pick is to be used in a trade. This team is more than one player away from achieving its goal.
The fact that Lamoriello is the General Manager also plays a large factor in what the Islanders will do with this pick. Lamoriello is not here for a rebuild project. That 13th overall pick is in play.
Now that Trotz is gone, Lou is next on the chopping block if this team does not get back to the playoffs. It would be a bittersweet ending to a Hall of Fame career.