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Islanders Mailbag: ‘Let’s Say Hypothetically…’

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New York Islanders

After a disastrous road trip out in Seattle and Western Canada, where slow starts killed them, the New York Islanders had the chance to right some wrongs on this latest homestand.

The Islanders did improve in one area, as their slow starts were for not, scoring the first goal in four out of the five games, with strong starts in all of them.

But they counteracted those strong starts with horrific finishes, blowing the lead in three of the four games and capping off their road trip with a 1-2-2 record.

The Islanders blew a 1-0 lead to the Minnesota Wild in the third, a 3-0 lead against the Washington Capitals, and a 1-0 lead to the Boston Bruins. Two of the three were slim leads, understandably, but when you are a team teetering around a playoff spot, and the one strong suit is that you close out games, those points can’t be thrown away like they were on this homestand.

They are now a point out of the second wild-card spot (50), with the Florida Panthers (47), the Buffalo Sabres (45), and the Philadelphia Flyers (45) right on their tail.

At this moment in time, the Islanders are closer to the Flyers in the standings, than the New York Rangers (57).

Let’s hypothetically say Lou could get a top-6 winger via trade tomorrow, but it requires the first-round pick and a top prospect. Do you even do it at this point? (@JonnyWax)

Hey Jonny, and thanks for the question. I would say it completely depends on exactly what player Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello is acquiring.

If it’s Bo Horvat with an extension, I would say yes. Now there’s a crowd who would think making a trade at this point does nothing. But because of the Penguins’ struggles, the Islanders still find themselves near the final playoff spot.

The problem is teams like the Canucks, and every team that is dangling a player on the market will get Lamoriello to overpay right now, knowing how high of a need it is.

Do you think selling Mayfield/Parise/Varly at the deadline to gain the assets needed to execute a soft retool this summer is being discussed? Or would punting the season sign Lou’s death certificate as GM after firing Trotz? (@smilesandisles)

I think if the Islanders find themselves out of it by March 3, they should sell off some assets. The problem with that is, the Islanders probably won’t be out of it enough for Lambert to fold.

I think if no moves are made before the deadline or on deadline day, that won’t go over well with ownership.

That ownership better get things figured out. I see many empty seats in the future… (@LurchMob1)

After the third-period horn sounded Wednesday, “Lou Must Go” chants reigned down from the UBS Arena stands.

As long as the Islanders stay relevant in the standings, people will show up but it’s clear that fans’ patience is quickly running out.

 Power play lost us another game (@Nysportssteve1)

Despite being outplayed by the Bruins after the opening twenty, the Islanders had plenty of chances and one power-play goal on their five opportunities could have turned the tides.

But 0-for-5 they went.

With the Islanders’ lack of even-strength production, the missed power-play opportunities have killed their chances to win games.

Let’s get to the mailbag. Thanks for your questions:

Why bring up Dufour if he’s not going to play the last 30 minutes? (@Mbellia_29)

Well, I doubt the plan going in was to not play William Dufour. I think the Islanders were trying to spark the group, by bringing up a prospect and playing him in the lineup.

But the only way a spark was going to come was if Dufour replaced a regular. He replaced a struggling Holmstrom and against the best team in the league, he struggled.

Rather than continue to throw the kid out on the ice, Lambert elected to bench him.

I believe in Lambert. Trotz got nothing out of this group last year either. This is on Lou. And I don’t think ONE forward fixes it. Team needs some major surgery (@JPDSalazar)

I don’t think it’s fair to blame Lambert for what’s transpired. He’s playing with the cards he’s been dealt and he’s not the dealer.

He’s made his fair share of rookie coaching mistakes, but it seems that his players just aren’t playing strong enough for him.

Like Barry Trotz, Lambert needs external additions. And he doesn’t have that and the Islanders’ fluke of 2021-22, doesn’t seem like a fluke anymore.

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