New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello will always be a wild card in free agency due to his unique execution and secrecy. The Hall-of-Fame GM ensures the players and agents he deals with keeping their business on the down low so that other work can be done, something he believes works in his favor.
Naturally, when a free agent of Nazem Kadri is still available, the experts wonder if this is a "Lou Lamoriello special." The heat has been turned up since various reports are linking Kadri to the Islanders. With fellow top free agent John Klingberg now off the market, Kadri is the clear-cut prize remaining in the group and was seen as the second-best free agent this summer overall. Klingberg settled for a one-year contract with the Anaheim Ducks.
If the smoke turns to fire and the Isles and Kadri are locked in for marriage, there's work to be done for Lamoriello before anything can become official.
It is no secret that the Islanders have restricted free agents Noah Dobson and Alexander Romanov to sign, and to a lesser degree Kieffer Bellows, while closing on the salary cap ceiling at just over $11 million. Teams involved in the Kadri sweepstakes, including the Islanders, will have to make corresponding moves to make room for Kadri's contract. That means players like Semyon Varlamov, Josh Bailey, and Anthony Beauvillier could certainly be involved in trade discussions as names we've heard as possibly available. Cap space is sparse, so you can bet there could also be a plan in place for Lamoriello to have wiggle room in-season in order to make moves to improve the roster at the trade deadline.
Bellows and Oliver Wahlstrom are entering important seasons for their development. and for Lamoriello's salary cap situation. With the hire of Lane Lambert, it is believed that the younger players will have a real shot at playing in increased roles, an important factor as two players on low-cost contracts.
The deal for Kadri may be in place, but as The Fourth Period's David Pagnotta stated, in order for one domino to fall, others need to drop. Regardless, the noise is getting louder and there's a possibility we'll get some clarity on Lamoriello's behind-the-scenes work sooner rather than later.