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Islanders Idle At NHL Trade Deadline; Lamoriello Explains Why And What Happens Now



AP Photo/George Walker IV

EAST MEADOW, NY–Rarely, if ever, do you hear a peep, nor a whisper, much less a rumor out of the front office of the New York Islanders.

But this NHL trade deadline season was even quieter than usual, and it made all the more sense when the clock struck 3 p.m. on the East Coast on Friday afternoon without the Islanders having made a move.

With the team riding a season-long, five-game winning streak and on the cusp of reclaiming a playoff spot, an inactive deadline will surely be a letdown to those who were hoping to see the Islanders swing a deal and add some edge for the final stretch of the regular season. Especially after team president/general manager Lou Lamoriello made comments earlier this week stating he had no interest in selling pieces off.

Instead, no such move came. In Lamoriello’s eyes, no such move was possible.

“My intent was certainly not to dismantle in any way whatsoever,” Lamoriello said via a Zoom conference following the deadline. “And then comes the next step: can you get better? In my opinion, what transpired today and what potentially could or could not have happened, we did not feel that we could have upgraded.

“We weren’t interested in making a lateral move with the players that we have. That put us in a position to make the decisions that we made with reference to staying exactly where we are.”

While the Islanders remained quiet, several teams they’re in direct competition with had active deadlines, either by adding, subtracting or doing a little bit of both.

But even with all the chaos in his peripheral vision, Lamoriello remained focused on what he could control.

“The only thing that one can do in this position is do everything they can to make their team better,” Lamoriello said. “That is, you are making your own team better. You don’t look at what other people are doing. You don’t make a trade for the sake of making a trade. That’s that’s not in the vocabulary.”

Still, regardless of what trades other teams made, the Islanders’ recent run could’ve been taken as a sign for Lamoriello to make a trade of his own.

Rather than that, it seems it indicated to Lamoriello that the best move was no move at all.

It’s taken a few weeks, but it looks as if the Islanders have firmly grasped what head coach Patrick Roy has preached since his arrival in late January by playing aggressively and with togetherness. As a result, they’ve climbed 10 points in the standings since the start of last week.

“What you have to consider, and we certainly do, is the chemistry of the team,” Lamoriello said. “That’s extremely important. I like, certainly, what has transpired with our team under Patrick. I like the way our lines are right now, and certainly, our defense…I feel very comfortable in our goaltending.”

If there’s any consolation for Lamoriello not making a trade at the deadline, it’s that he held onto the the Islanders’ first-round pick in the upcoming draft. The Islanders are now in line to make a selection in the opening round for the first time since 2019–barring a draft-day trade, which is a possibility that is never off the table with Lamoriello.

But until then, Lamoriello is sticking with the group he has, the one that’s been equally inspiring and infuriating this season. With just 20 games remaining, Lamoriello is betting on the former.

“We still have a ways to go,” Lamoriello said. “We have everything in our own hands right now, and that is what you want. The key is not to look back and to continue to build and grow, get the lines going on a consistent basis each and every night.

“Our players and our team determine what would happen on a day like this. There’s no question that I feel good about who we are and where we are at this point.”




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