2nd reason to be concerned: The lack of assets in Bridgeport.
The Islanders boast a veteran roster with plenty of long-term contracts. In one sense, having a similar roster for the past few seasons shows the stability Lou Lamoriello has created since taking over in 2018. On the other hand, this also represents a short window of opportunity for a team that was blueprinted starting in the Garth Snow era. In 2024, we could be witnessing the decline of many homegrown Islanders including Anders Lee and Matt Martin.
In such a case as the Islanders, having prospects at the AHL and collegiate levels would help mitigate a multi-season rebuild. This past offseason, the Boston Bruins lost many of their key players in free agency due to salary cap restrictions. Their pivot was toward the young talent they have developed from the past few drafts, and they haven’t missed a beat being the favorite to win the Atlantic Division.
The Islanders do not have these assets currently in Bridgeport. Lamoriello has traded the past four first-round draft picks for J.G. Pageau, Kyle Palmieri, Alexander Romanov, and Horvat. While each of these players has had great moments for the Islanders, the cost has devastated the team’s future hopes of sustained success. The only prospect of note in Bridgeport who is playing well is Russian centerman Ruslan Iskhakov, who has 13 goals and 19 assists through 36 games.