Lou Lamoriello believes the NY Islanders have enough team speed

Montreal Canadiens v New York Islanders
Montreal Canadiens v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

Speed kills, and the prevailing thought has been that the lack of it has been killing the New York Islanders in recent seasons as NHL players become quicker and faster by the season.

You can't help but watch the brand of hockey the New Jersey Devils or Carolina Hurricanes play and compare it to the style of the Islanders and notice differences. It's part of the reason why the team is branded, fairly or not, "boring" or a "snoozefest" by hockey fans and pundits.

NY Islanders have enough team speed to win

Playing fast doesn't always equate to playoff success. A fast team can be made to look slow in the postseason as space becomes tighter and the physicality ramps up. However, in the regular season, it's an unquestioned asset and helps a team rack up points during an 82-game schedule.

A grinding, physical style of play, one that the Islanders have had the most success with, takes a toll on players and can wear them down at certain points of a long season. At Tuesday's press conference, GM Lou Lamoriello was asked about the team's speed. The Islanders have had a roster that is built for the postseason, but do they need to play a faster style in the regular season?

"Player speed as far as quickness and fastness is one thing," said Lamoriello. "Team speed is moving the puck quickly. That's head manning it at the right time and moving it." He cited Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final as an example of how quickly the puck was moving around because of how physical the game was throughout. Players had to move the puck or else they would get hit.

"I think we have enough team speed," he added. "We just have to use it with the construction that we have as far as the size and strength to go along with that."

Pierre Engvall
Toronto Maple Leafs v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

Although Lamoriello may feel the team has enough "team speed" he still values individual speed as well, and that is where the Islanders have been deficient. At the March trade deadline, he sent a 2024 third-round pick to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Pierre Engvall, with speed being among the reasons. “Pierre is a very versatile player. He’ll bring a dimension that he can play any one of the forward positions, and probably his biggest asset is his skating ability,” Lamoriello said back in March.

Engvall is one of four UFAs that Lamoriello said are a priority. In the case of Engvall, he made it clear from the moment he was acquired that his skillset is one that they'd like to keep around.

“We’ll take one thing at a time,” Lamoriello said when asked about retaining Engvall beyond last season. “He’s certainly an individual that you’d like to keep in your organization with the style he plays and his speed. I can’t overemphasize his speed.”

There may be more to team speed than just having quick and fast players, we'll give Lamoriello that, but it's made easier when you have individual speed and that's what the Islanders still need to add or retain on their roster for next season.