The Athletics Kevin Kurz (subscription required) recently spoke with New York Islanders General Manager Lou Lamoriello. In that chat, Lou was asked what they plan on doing at the deadline. And it seemed like Lou wasn't ready to sell. At least not yet anyway:
"“I’ll just take right now a day at a time until we get to the point where decisions have to be made. I do not think any different at this time than I would think if we were, say, in a playoff spot today, or out of a playoff spot, because there are so many things that you think of. Everything you do is for today, with tomorrow in sight. That will never change.”"- Lou Lamoriello
"Until we get to the point where decisions have to be made." When is that exactly? When does a decision need to be made? And what is Lou Lamoriello waiting for exactly?
New York Islanders: When will a decision be made?
Obviously, the trade deadline is when the Islanders have to make a decision on their season. Making a call after the deadline would be quite obtuse. But it's not like the trade deadline is months away now. It's only just 19 days from now. Just over two weeks.
The Islanders are currently 17 points back of a wild card spot with five games in hand. So again, why wait? Does Lou Lamoriello think the Islanders will bridge that gap before the deadline?
The Islanders have ten games to play before March 21. Seven at home and three on the road. Four of those games are against divisional rivals (Columbus, Washington, Rangers, and Philadelphia). That Washington game - played in Washington on March 15 - is a massively important game.
The Capitals are in a steady decline of late. They've lost three in a row and hold a 4-6-0 record over their last ten games. They're the team everyone outside of the playoffs is chasing.
At the Capitals current rate (their last 10 games), they'll pick up another six points in the standings before the deadline. To push them up to 71 points in the standings. That's a 23 point gap for the Isles to make up with ten games to play.
You don't have to be a Math major to know that's just not enough games. Even if the Isles, by some miracle, win them all. And that's also assuming the Caps don't wake up from their current slumber. Which is a real possibility of course.
(I guess technically the Caps could lose them all from here to the deadline. But how likely is that exactly?)
I get that the trade deadline is the deadline. It's in the name. And a decision has to be made by that date. But there's nothing stopping the Islanders from making that decision now. Because it's unlikely that they'll find themselves in a different position on March 21 than the position they find themselves in today; outside looking in.