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Islanders Last Run?
By Glenn Brewer
The Islanders were linked to top free agents like Nazem Kadri. Lou Lamoriello may have had a trick up his sleeve but nothing came to fruition.
With the Islanders only off-season move was the acquisition of Alexander Romanov, can they compete for a Stanley Cup?
Close But No Cigar
The Islanders have progressed greatly under the tutelage of Barry Trotz and Lou Lamoriello over the past few seasons. Progress is a big step for a franchise, but progress was not enough to win the Stanley Cup.
The team came down to one more win to just make it to the finals, but continued to fall to the eventual champions, Tampa Bay Lightning.
Two straight trips to the Eastern Conference Finals are nothing to be ashamed of for a core group of players.
The roster has not had much turnover under Lamoriello and company. Some minor depth players have been plugged into specific roles, but this group has grown together and taken steps together. Are they capable of the final step?
Under Trotz, this team excelled defensively and played a smart style of hockey that fit well in the playoffs. Scoring goals has been the problem for this group and continues, even in the successful playoff runs.
The rival, New York Rangers, has a young and fast group that can score at will. Additionally, the Rangers have a phenomenal goalkeeper to keep the other team at bay. Still, the Rangers could not handle the Lightning in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Are the Islanders at the scoring level of the Rangers and the Lightning with the new potential acquisitions this off-season?
If not, just remember that those teams did not win the Stanley Cup!
Time For Change?
The Islanders fans have had to suffer through some long and drawn-out re-builds, but it is part of the cycle of teams in the NHL. This group may be reaching that time of re-build.
If a player like Kadri came to Long Island via trade and the Islanders failed to win the Cup or even make the playoffs, what is next?
The team has important players that are young, but the veterans are starting to fade and not much more can be expected from them.
It would seemingly be time to make big changes to the roster if the Islanders are unable to put it all together this season
For that reason, it was worth the risk to bring in a player like Kadri. The top six forwards will certainly improve with the acquisition and maybe that with another year for Sorokin is just what the doctor ordered.
If not, then it is time to identify the group of players moving forward and creating some cap space to re-tool the group.
So for all the Islanders fans weary of making a move, remember it truly is a “win now” team and it would be a shame to let this group continue to grow older without taking a shot on a star forward.
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September 29th, 2022