Connect with us

New York Islanders

Islanders Front Office Must Keep Foot On Gas To Stay In Playoff Race




Fans of the New York Islanders have a lot of words they like to use to describe team president Lou Lamoriello. One adjective that doesn’t relate to him, though, is passive.

Time and again over the last calendar year, Lamoriello has acted swiftly to add to his roster, keeping the Islanders competitive when many have said their window is closing.

Well before the market started to heat up last deadline season, he shocked the hockey world by trading for Bo Horvat in a move that has turned out to be an absolute fleecing of the Vancouver Canucks. When Mathew Barzal went down with a lower-body injury weeks later, he pivoted and acquired Pierre Engvall.

This season has been no different. Lamoriello used his quick trigger to pick up Mike Reilly off waivers and deal for Robert Bortuzzo, keeping the team afloat as it endured major injuries to its back end.

Now that it appears the Islanders will be competing for a playoff spot, there is no reason for Lamoriello to pull back.

The Metropolitan Division is shaping up to be the most competitive in hockey. As of today, five Metro teams sit in a playoff spot, with four separated by just two points. The Islanders are lucky to be one of them.

Despite the number of points the Islanders have left on the table in their league-leading nine overtime losses, they’re still keeping pace. It’s also been helpful that teams like the New Jersey Devils and Pittsburgh Penguins are struggling.

But as much as their misfortunes have benefitted the Islanders, the Philadelphia Flyers, Washington Capitals and Carolina Hurricanes are reaping the rewards as well.

If the Islanders are going to separate themselves from the rest of the pack, they’ll need Lamoriello to be aggressive once again by adding to the roster once the NHL’s holiday roster freeze ends and before their division rivals do first.

The Islanders have $3.025 million available in cap space as long as Adam Pelech remains on long-term injured reserve. It’s not a ton of room, but it’s enough for Lamoriello to work with in order to sure up the team’s 32nd ranked penalty kill.

However, it appears defensemen will be highly coveted this season and it’s not as if the Islanders have a stockpile of assets to trade from either. Plus, the possible returns of Ryan Pulock and Scott Mayfield to the lineup will suddenly make what has been a depleted blue line one of the deepest in the entire NHL.

The move or moves that Lamoriello makes doesn’t even necessarily have to be a trade.

The re-addition of Zach Parise on a minimum contract would give the Islanders another penalty-killer while also fortifying their bottom six and providing the scoring depth that every playoff team desires.

Right now, the Islanders are in an advantageous position, one that didn’t feel all that certain to begin the season.

With Barzal and Horvat on pace to have career years and Noah Dobson developing into a legitimate front-line defenseman, there’s no reason to believe this team shouldn’t be one of the 16 left standing come April.

But there’s still plenty of road until then. Now is not the time to take the foot off the gas.




Enter your email address to get all of our articles delivered directly to your inbox.

NYI Team & Cap Info