The NY Islanders were up three goals to none against the Washington Capitals on Monday night after the first 30 minutes of play. Quite literally one second later, the Capitals began to dismantle the Islanders after Alexander Ovechkin turned the tides with a hit on J.G. Pageau followed by assisting on the Capitals first goal to mount the comeback that spelled an eventual win for Washington. It was a crushing loss for an Islanders team that has been the definition of mediocre as they continue to be a team that is on the cusp of either missing the playoffs or making it by the skin of their teeth. On Tuesday morning, DailyFaceoff's President and analyst Frank Seravalli stated the Islanders should be sellers at the trade deadline.
Seravalli took a look at the Islanders mid-season slip as losers in six out of their last eight games. Fellow DailyFaceoff analyst and former NHL goaltender Mike McKenna stated that he doesn't see the Islanders as sellers because it's not "Lamoriello's style," and made the astute point that not a single player for the Isles has more than 15+ goals on a team that has too many "middle-line bloadted contracts." In simple terms, Seravlli agreed.
Seravalli listed Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin as one of the few "franchise cornerstones" in the NHL. His belief that the Islanders should be sellers at the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline doesn't come with the implication that the Islanders should go in full rebuild mode. In fact, with a goaltender like Sorokin, he believes the Islanders can make some adjustments to fix this. INstead, Seravalli states the Islanders should work on moving out pending unrestricted free agent Semyon Varlamov to a team in need of goaltending. The 34-year-old goaltender has had a solid rebound season after a tough 2021-22 season with an 8-4-1 record and a .913 SV% and 2.75 GAA to support it.
The idea is to use the assets the Islanders retrieve for Varlamov (and any other pieces if they decide to sell at the deadline) in the summer to finally acquire a permanent running mate to play alongside Mathew Barzal. McKenna is right, selling isn't Lamoriello's style, especially at 80 years old and not getting any younger, but the Islanders might not have to means to upgrade right now as there are teams in better position than them who have deeper pockets.
There's 37 regular season games left on tap for the Islanders and things could certainly change, but if the recent history tells us anything, the Islanders need scoring help to improve. Its tough to see an opportunity where Lamoriello can make a major upgrade at this point and Seravalli's idea might be Lamoriello's best option. With six-plus weeks until the trade deadline, it will certainly be something to keep an eye on and will be intriguing to see how things unfold.