NY Islanders fans remain divided on the team's direction under GM Lou Lamoriello

2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Round One
2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Round One / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

Unlike last season when they made the trade for Bo Horvat, the news cycle around the New York Islanders is slow after the whirlwind first week with Patrick Roy behind the bench.

With nothing new to watch and complain about, fans are engaging in old arguments in recent days. The Islanders are old and slow. Lou mortgaged the future for a mediocre team. The core of the team needs to change. It’s a country club culture, etc. Those making these statements have been making them for a long time, and voices of dissent grow louder with the team’s current position.

Prior to the Horvat trade last year, we all debated whether the Isles should sell off their core and start a rebuild or retool. In reality, GM Lou Lamoriello and ownership never considered that to be an option. Once that decision was made, demonstrated by acquiring Horvat, trading for Pierre Engvall, extending Ilya Sorokin, and bringing back Scott Mayfield and Semyon Varlamov, there was no turning back.

Mathew Barzal, Bo Horvat, Noah Dobson
New York Islanders v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

The next time we can have this debate will be around this time next year. If the Islanders are out of contention, there will be decisions to be made on whether to trade pending UFAs Brock Nelson or Kyle Palmieri at the deadline and be on the receiving side of acquiring assets for a change.

Of course, he could always extend them, too. I'm sure some of you would be thrilled!

That’s disconcerting for those convinced the Isles have reached their ceiling and been slowly trickling down towards irrelevance ever since. The NHL has seen teams like the Vegas Golden Knights miss the post-season and rebounded with a core of 30-somethings to win the Stanley Cup. The Winnipeg Jets are having a terrific year after a first-round exit last season and missing the playoffs the year before.

It can happen in the NHL, but there’s a segment of the fanbase that doesn’t believe it can happen with the Islanders. Sure, they have Mathew Barzal putting up a point a game and Noah Dobson having a career offensive season, but even with Horvat being that missing 30-goal scorer everyone clamored for, these fans don't believe the top-tier talent is good enough.

When asked, about what Lamoriello should have done differently, they'll say they wish he never traded all those first-round picks to “only” finish a step away from the Stanley Cup Final twice. They'll likely tell you how they wouldn't have made the playoffs without the pandemic and that the 56-game-shortened season wasn't legit. Whatever.

Patrick Roy
Dallas Stars v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

Here’s my advice for those fans: root for this team to turn things around under Roy over the next 33 games and make the playoffs. To do so, they’ll have to be one of the better teams in the league from here on out. If that happens, they’ll be a dangerous team and tough out.

That doesn’t sound so bad, does it? It could even be fun.

And if it doesn’t happen, you all can start digging up all the same talking points during the off-season and by the time next season comes around, will probably have won a good number of fans over to your side of the argument.