Step Three: Focus on the 2024 NHL Draft.
With some lottery luck, the Islanders could end up in the top 10 of the draft, which would be a great place to find a franchise cornerstone. While the Isles are on the playoff fringe now, their goal differential is tenth-worst in the NHL, signifying a team that is perhaps worse than their record. The top 5 players available, in my view, are: F Macklin Celebrini, F Cole Eiserman, F Ivan Demidov, D Artyon Levshunov, and D Anton Silayev. The 6-10 group is also strong, made up of: D Sam Dickinson, F Berkly Catton, F Konsta Helenius, D Adam Jiricek, and F Cayden Lindstrom.
A defenseman like Silayev would allow the Isles to dangle Alexander Romanov in a trade to add a young forward while still lining up Silayev, Dobson, Pelech, and Pulock as the long-term top 4. Meanwhile, an offensive playmaker like Catton or Helenius would be a boon to the Isles system, which has been bereft of high-end offensive talent for years.
Additionally, they can use any additional picks or prospects from shrewd deadline trades to move up or down at the draft. Creative asset management will be key to a successful retooling.