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Lou Speaks: Ho-Sang Snub, UFAs and Barzal Drama

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New York Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello

New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello addressed a wide variety of issues during his pre-training camp media availability on Thursday.

The status of Mathew Barzal was the main topic of conversation during the roughly 15-minute Zoom call with the media. Lamoriello did not have much of an update on where things stand with Barzal, but the team is still hoping to have him on the ice for the start of training camp.

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Aside from that, there was plenty for the Isles GM to discuss as the team prepares to open training camp in just a few days. Here are a few of the key points from Thursday’s availability:

Josh Ho-Sang

The Athletic’s Arthur Staple shocked the Isles Twittisphere on Wednesday night when he reported that Josh Ho-Sang wouldn’t be invited to training camp. To say it was a bit of a surprise would be an understatement.

Lou Lamoriello addressed that decision in no uncertain terms on Thursday.

“We made a decision that we would be taking four goaltenders, 12 defensemen and 21 forwards, that is seven lines,” Lamoriello explained. “Knowing that once we received the transition rules that it would be a roster plus a taxi squad of a max of four, a minimum of six. When we went over our whole as to who we felt had the best chance of making that four to six, he was not one of them that was selected.”

Josh Ho-Sang

It certainly adds another wrinkle to the saga that has been Ho-Sang’s time with the Islanders. Ho-Sang was signed to a one-year, two-way deal in October. At the time Ho-Sang’s agent Patrick Bedell said the talented winger viewed the contract as another chance to show he can be an NHL contributor.

Now it appears his role will be to fill out the AHL roster for Bridgeport when their season begins next month.

Greene and Martin Officially Returning, Schneider on His Way Too

The Islanders general manager confirmed what had been reported by various sources that Matt Martin and Andy Greene were returning and that Cory Schneider will be a member of the organization next season. All three have agreed to terms on deals with the Islanders, but those haven’t been signed yet.

Lou Lamoriello did tell reporters that the three would be in training camp the first day and that they will be signed. What remains a mystery is the terms for Martin and Greene’s new deals with the Islanders.

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The Third Line

The third line has been the focus of a story or two here at NYI Hockey Now, and Lou Lamoriello addressed it on New Year’s Eve. While the decision will ultimately be made by the coaching staff, the Islanders general manager is looking forward to the competition it will bring.

In case you’ve forgotten, here’s a quick refresher on who will be battling to play on the wing of Jean-Gabriel Pageau. Oliver Wahlstrom, Kieffer Bellows, Michael Dal Colle, Ross Johnston, Leo Komarov, Otto Koivula and Dmytro Timashov are all candidates to fill those spots.

“The competition is going to be great for it. I’m interested to see how camp goes for the open forward spot or two,” Lamoriello said.

Islanders Will Have Four Goaltenders at Camp

The Islanders will have four goaltenders on the ice when camp opens on Long Island on Sunday, though all eyes will be on Ilya Sorokin.

Lou Lamoriello said that Sorokin has been on Long Island for the last month and a half working on his skating and his English. The expectation is that Sorokin will backup Semyon Varlamov during the regular season and Lamoriello confirmed that he will be “in the mix.”

With Schneider officially headed to Long Island, Jakub Skarek will round out the goaltenders at camp. “It will be competitive and they’ll be pushing each other,” Lamoriello said.

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