Who could call the New York Islanders offseason boring?
Yes, there have been no free agent signings to speak of and only one acquisition, which came back on the night of July 7, when the New York Islanders sent the 13th overall pick to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for defenseman Alexander Romanov.
But there has certainly been drama.
First, the New York Islanders were in on superstar free agent Johnny Gaudreau but, due to salary cap reasons, were never able to truly be a front-runner as he decided to sign with the Columbus Blue Jackets for $9.75 million a year.
Then due to radio silence and the fact that Nazem Kadri was still a free agent weeks into free agency, was Nazem Kadri New York Islanders bound?
It seemed to be the case, and for weeks and months it was not about if but when before Kadri headed to Long Island. But the same issue that arose with Gaudreau arose with Kadri.
The New York Islanders reportedly offered Kadri seven years at $7 million but, as NYI Hockey Now reported, were waiting to clear cap space before making a deal official.
Well, the Islanders never did, and Kadri signed the same exact deal with the Calgary Flames. And that’s because the Calgary Flames paid the price to clear the necessary salary cap space.
This is not to say the New York Islanders should have included a first-round pick to move Josh Bailey and his $5 million cap hit or any other player on the roster. And that first was likely a starting point, as Lamoriello may have had to include prospects as well, given the leverage he did not have.
The Islanders already parted ways with their 2022 first-round pick for Romanov. In 2021, the Islanders parted ways with their 2021 first-round pick to acquire Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac. And in 2020, the Islanders sent three draft picks, including their 2020 first-round pick to the Ottawa Senators for Jean Gabriel Pageau.
Moving their 2023rd first-round pick would have been the fourth, and given the cap hits and the production from Palmieri and Pageau, it has not worked out the way the Islanders had hoped.
The New York Islanders are in win-now mode. That’s not to say a win-now team needs to trade a first-rounder for a player who had a career year on a juggernaut of a team like Kadri with the Colorado Avalanche.
However, a win-now team needs to make necessary moves to bring on players they deem elite, even if that means jeopardizing the future.
Winning a Stanley Cup is the goal, and as you see with the Calgary Flames, they are going all in to make that a reality while the Islanders have not made a move to acquire the necessary elite talent under Lou Lamoriello.
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