Islanders Future Decisions: Keep pushing or re-load for 2022-23?

Vegas Golden Knights v New York Islanders
Vegas Golden Knights v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

The NHL season remains partially sidelined as we approach the new year. The New York Islanders have arguably been the most affected organization in the league by Covid. Having last played on December 19th, the Islanders are scheduled to play on Thursday.

With Canada taking a different approach to handle the virus, the league schedule is up in the air to finish the season. The Canadian teams will have difficulty playing consistently across the border. Last year the Canadian teams played only each other due to protocols.

Teams are set to make up these games during the Olympic break. With the NHL players not participating, the two weeks will provide relief.

Will the NHL season resume as expected? Will the season be shortened? Will the divisions re-align like last season?

Islanders Slow Start

This has not been the expected start to the season for Lamoriello and company. Although it is early in the season, the number of games left in the season is diminishing. The potential for fewer games played due to Covid and time is really starting to run out for this veteran squad

Personally, this group has what it takes to win a gritty playoff series. Getting to the playoffs was the first hurdle in the season. The Islanders are not out of playoff contention.

On the other hand, the Islanders have some key pieces that are entering there prime or have very high ceilings. It is not often; you can add young talent to an already talented group. The cost would be surrendering a season with Stanley Cup aspirations.

The New York Yankees are not shy to playoff baseball, but the one season they were clearly out of the playoff race, they sold high on veteran players. The re-stocking of the young talent helped, while continuing to function as a contender the next season(s).

Would Lou sacrifice a season for the future or is this it for him?

Islanders Plethora of Veterans

It is no secret that this team has some older, veteran players on the roster. Some players bring a style that any playoff contender yearns to possess come spring. Expiring contacts like Cal Clutterbuck would allow a chance to contend for a cup and potentially reurn to the Island in the summer.

Zdeno Chara and Zach Parise are on minimal salaries and would provide a wealth of experience to a contender.

A chance to let Oliver Wahlstrom, Ilya Sorokin, Noah Dobson, Keiffer Bellows and Robin Salo grow at the NHL level for another year is valuable. With the established players in Anders Lee, Mathew Barzal and J.G Pageau, the roster will remain balanced with the addition of draft assets and cap space.

This would provide the organization to re-load and not re-build like many have grown accustomed to in the past. It is certainly tough to let this group go without another shot, but this season continues to open that door to a re-load.

Free agency, draft capital and cap space would make for a fun off-season, but would it be worth it? Arguments for either direction are valid, but sustainability is something needed with a new arena.