By now you know that the New York Islanders lost out on the Johnny Gaudreau sweepstakes. In a plot twist that no one saw coming, the 29-year-old forward landed on an offer from the Columbus Blue Jackets despite most having him pegged going to the Islanders, New Jersey Devils, or Philadelphia Flyers. Now, the Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello is left with the desire to add but not many options left in order to upgrade the forward group via free agency. Lamoriello needs a new plan, and it can't be a plan B, C, etc. The Islanders need a plan A, a real difference maker, and although it'll be hard to find someone like the 115-point player Gaudreau is, Lamoriello can't settle for mediocre.
Free agency has proven to be a bust thus far, however, there is still an enticing option or two that remains on the UFA market. However, given Lamoriello's history, it'll likely serve him best to navigate the trade route with the hopes that he can pry a player with first-line capabilities. It may or may not cost a lot, but as we learned on Wednesday night, Lamoriello is in the last year of his contract, and with a brand new arena to boot, he'll want to impress ownership in order to stick around and put butts in seats. So what options are left in order to ice a team that will entice Islanders ownership and fans?