As expected, the New York Islanders are receiving mixed reviews for their off-season thus far, with the national hockey media being more perplexed and puzzled by the moves GM Lou Lamoriello made than even the fanbase.
While those that follow the team daily were genuinely surprised by the seven-year commitments made to Scott Mayfield and Pierre Engvall, the consensus is that Mayfield is likely to hold up as a reliable third-pair defenseman, while Engvall has significant upside with his floor being a third-liner that can contribute in a multitude of ways.
Meanwhile, the four-year deal for Semyon Varlamov is probably two years too long, but with no obvious goalie prospect ready to play 20-25 NHL games a season in the coming years, Lamoriello elected to keep his top tandem together for the next four seasons after Ilya Sorokin agreed to an eight-year extension - the only move everyone seems to like!
Seravelli: The NY Islanders had an atrocious few days; worst offseason to this point
On Monday's The DFO Rundown Podcast with Frank Seravalli and Jason Gregor, the two hosts, didn't mince words when it came to how they felt about Lamoriello's start of the offseason.
"The obvious team that stands out in head-scratching where term really wasn't really the topic of the day is the New York Islanders," said Gregor. [The Islanders] decided to bring back the whole gang and lock them up forever."
"I thought they've had one of the worst off-seasons to this point," added Seravalli.
"The Engvall deal is especially confounding. Pierre Engvall? That contract isn't even tradeable," Seravelli proclaimed. "To go seven years on Mayfield and Engvall? And then Varlamov at that term? I don't understand it at all. Not even a little bit. They basically said this is our team for the next four years, and they weren't already very good."
Tell us how you really feel, Frank.
"They can't score, and after the first few days of free agency, they've done nothing to remotely improve the possibility they're going to score more goals this coming season," stated Gregor. "They still haven't signed Zach Parise, who scored 20+ goals last year."
"The Islanders, I thought, had an atrocious few days," Seravalli concluded.
Lamoriello has never concerned himself with critics, and we doubt he listens to podcasts. The moves were indeed unconventional compared to the rest of the league. Still, Lou knows his team and roster better than those on the outside, and there's a good chance with a rising cap that these deals that look confounding to some right now won't be too problematic for the roster construction moving forward.