The New York Islanders put forth another losing effort against a playoff-caliber team on Sunday night. The Minnesota Wild’s first appearance at UBS ended with a victory.
Other than a dreadful start to the game, the Islanders played well.
The loss put a further damper on the playoff hopes, despite the victory against the Ottawa Senators. The team has played well enough to beat the opponents currently out of the playoffs, but it is quite a different story for current playoff opponents.
New York Islanders management need to figure out direction
The Islanders made a splash when hiring the successful, Lou Lamoriello, as General Manager. The organization followed up with a homerun hire in coach, Barry Trotz.
The duo has performed as advertised and provided the success the franchise has not experienced since the glory days of the four cups.
Lamoriello is 79 years old and Barry Trotz is 59 years old. Both have had Hall of Fame careers and have nothing else to prove. The recent success for this group of players is more than most expected to this point.
To see a re-build for these two legends seems highly unlikely. But with this year playing out the way it is, what does the future hold?
Lamoriello seems to have played all his cards since losing former captain, John Tavares. The team moved on replacements in J.G. Pageau and Kyle Palmieri as the forward reinforcements the last two seasons via trade and re-signings.
Arguably the biggest move made by Lou was drafting Olver Wahlstrom and Noah Dobson. Both are now mainstays in the Islanders lineup. Finally, the cap issue was solved over the summer by unloading Andrew Ladd, Nick Leddy, and Jordan Eberle. Two veterans to replace the open spots were Zach Parise and Zdeno Chara.
The comparison of Palmieri and Chara vs. Eberle and Leddy has been the difference between the rosters and potentially the results.
The tricks around the salary cap have been done, but the Islanders may be too far out of the race to make an impact acquisition this deadline. This combined with the fact of Lamoriello and Trotz’s age, again, poses the question of what does the future hold?
Can this group stand pat and bring back the same team next season? Is it a waste to not capitalize on this season and unload for assets?
Islanders Best Interest
It appears that the best interest of the current roster and management is to re-charge for the next season. A re-build is not in the cards for this management and the roster has enough young talent to compete next season.
The roster is nowhere near perfect, so the moves of the off-season can begin at the trade deadline. Free agents can be moved and considered for a return in the summer. Questionable players will have a chance to prove more the rest of the way or cut the leash with a trade.
The team clearly needs more scoring. The current top-six just isn't cutting it.
Identifying the strengths in goaltending, defense and center will allow Lamoriello to adjust for a run at some players in the summer.
This group was dealt a season full of unforeseen issues. Nonetheless, the window could quickly close for the young core to make another Stanley Cup run without help.