It’s difficult–better yet–rather impossible to get inside the mind of New York Islanders president and general manager Lou Lamoriello and figure out his next move.
With the trade deadline only a month away, there will be plenty of speculation coming from all directions over what moves Lamoriello will make.
One NHL insider may have just pointed us in the right one.
Now that their defense corps is back at full strength with Ryan Pulock and Adam Pelech healthy once again, adding a forward makes sense for the Islanders, especially since much of their depth scoring has dried up lately.
However, the Islanders’ salary cap circumstances and their place within the Eastern Conference standings are at odds with one another. With very little financial wiggle room, it will be tough for the Islanders to take on a large contract with years of service remaining. But at the same time, it doesn’t make much sense to bring in a rental piece when there’s no guarantee they’ll make the playoffs.
When the Islanders were in Toronto to play the Maple Leafs earlier this week, LeBrun asked Lamoriello how those factors could affect his approach.
“Like everything else, you make every decision for today with tomorrow in mind,” Lamoriello said. “But where the priority comes at that given time? Depending on cost, depending on age, depending on so many variables. So it’s really tough to say it’s for this reason or that reason. But you certainly do it because you want to give yourself a better opportunity if the opportunity comes about. Remember, it still takes two teams.”
It’s still early in the trade season, but so far, the market has revolved around centers, with Elias Lindholm and Sean Monahan both getting dealt during the All-Star break, but things could change quickly.
The Islanders are already strong down the middle, so if the market remains steady, it puts them in a good position to deal for a winger without competing teams driving up the asking price.
Among top wingers that are rumored to be available, there’s Vladimir Tarasenko of the Ottawa Senators, Anthony Duclair of the San Jose Sharks, Arthur Kaliyev of the Los Angeles Kings and Frank Vatrano of the Anaheim Ducks.
Vatrano’s teammate, Adam Henrique, is a center by trade but could easily make the shift over to the wing if needed.
Twenty-nine days and counting. The deadline is coming up fast, but at least we know which direction we’re heading in.