Sometimes things are just quiet because they are ... quiet.
For days and weeks, those that are supposed to be in the know knew that Nazem Kadri was going to be a member of the New York Islanders. That's why when The Athletic's Shayna Goldman tweeted this morning that Kadri was off the market, it was initially perceived as another vague indication that the Islanders and Kadri had struck a deal, and although an announcement was imminent, we just didn't know when.
But then Kevin Weekes, announced that Kadri had signed a deal with the Calgary Flames, who, after losing Johnny Gaudreau in free agency and trading Matthew Tkachuk to the Florida Panthers have reshaped their roster in a single off-season to remain a top team in the Western Conference
So what happened?
Your guess is good as mine.
Either the Islanders and Kadri were never really as close as we were led to believe, or their deal was contingent on the Islanders shedding salary to make room for the UFA center. To make room for Kadri, the Flames are reportedly moving Sean Monahan to the Montreal Canadiens, something the Islanders reportedly weren't able or willing to do to unload the two remaining years of Josh Bailey or the same $4.15M AAV of Anthony Beauvillier. We are waiting to hear what the return was from Montreal and/or what Calgary had to add to make the transaction.
Where do the Islanders go from here?
Your guess is good as mine x 2
G.M. Lou Lamoriello was adamant and direct about the forward group being put on notice and that "hockey trades" were the way he aimed to improve the roster for next season. To date, no trades have been made involving any of the team's forwards and the organization has seemingly struck out on two high-profile targets in Gaudreau and Kadri.
The remaining UFA list has serviceable players such as Pittsburgh's Evan Rodrigues and those with upside like Long Island's Sonny Milano. Neither is what Islanders fans - and likely the front office - envisioned as the upgrade necessary for a team that finished 24th in the NHL in goals scored last season. What about trades, you ask? If there was a trade to move salary, it feels it would have been done by now, and if there was a 'hockey trade' to be made, it feels like it would have happened.
Could they re-engage the Vancouver Canucks about JT Miller? I suppose, but the Islanders no longer possess the No. 13 pick as an asset. The Canucks might be inclined to start the season with Miller and if an extension can't get done, move him for what could be a similar package at the deadline.
We're weeks away from training camp, and teams have or are finalizing the roster. It wouldn't appear to be prime bargaining season for GMs trying to improve their team. But that is the position that Lamoriello and the Islanders now find themselves in.
As much skepticism as there was about a Kadri signing, there is more confidence that deals for RFAs Noah Dobson and Alexander Romanov will happen. Security on the blueline is great. Those moves, if/when they happen, will be applauded. But in what was viewed as a critical off-season for a franchise that missed the playoffs but remains convinced their contender window remains open, they are only marginally better on paper this season than they were last.
It's setting up for the same group to take the ice in a couple of months with a lot of the same questions they ended last season with, but this time with a first-year head coach and a more amplified sense of urgency.