Through 24 games this season, the NY Islanders are 10-7-7, good for 24 points and 4th place in the Metropolitan Division. However, they also possess a -10 goal differential and have shown an inability to close out games. The Islanders have failed to close out leads in eleven games, eight of which turned out to be losses. As Steven at Lighthouse Hockey points out, that is seven points squandered by the Isles. Seven additional points would put the Islanders three points shy of the Rangers for the division lead.
It is becoming clear that the Isles could use some change. While the "identity factor" and general closeness of the players in the organization was an enormous positive for years, a lack of accountability has developed on the Island, and at this point, change has become necessary. While Lane Lambert - and even Lou Lamoriello- should not be safe in their jobs, the Islanders should consider going a step further. With a strong 2024 NHL Draft on the horizon and an aging core in need of change, a retool looks as if it may be the best option.
But what does that look like? The Islanders have recently committed to a strong core of: Ilya Sorokin, Mathew Barzal, Bo Horvat, Adam Pelech, Ryan Pulock, and Noah Dobson. Additionally, key role players like Pierre Engvall and Scott Mayfield are also locked in. With these commitments, it would appear that a full rebuild is out of the question. But retooling around the edges is the next best thing.