Kukla's Korner

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Category: New-York-Islanders

Afternoon Line -Mike McKenna

Lamoriello and the Islanders can talk about liking their team all they want, and how they may not have felt a need to retool a lineup that was competitive less than two years ago. But in those two seasons, the Islanders haven’t gotten any faster. And they certainly haven’t found a solution to jump-starting forward Mathew Barzal’s career. He should be an NHL superstar by now. But I don’t think he has the skill alongside him to make it happen.

It’s laughable to think the Islanders went into this offseason planning on making so few moves. There’s no way the team wanted to run it back with a few tweaks and a new head coach in 2022-23. I understand Lamoriello publicly supporting his club. Every NHL general manager should.

But the reality is that the Islanders failed to acquire the assets necessary to become an elite team. Free agency was a disaster. And while the Romanov deal helped shore up a blueline that will be without Andy Greene and Zdeno Chara next season, the trade cost the Islanders a first round draft choice.

-Mike McKenna of the Daily Faceoff where you can read more on this topic plus a look at Phil Kessel in Vegas.

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Lou Lamoriello Today

from Kevin Kurz of The Athletic,

... But perhaps the greatest factor in the discontent is that general manager Lou Lamoriello himself all but guaranteed that there were going to be changes to the forward group this offseason and that “hockey trades” were on the horizon.

Instead, the exact same group of forwards that finished the disappointing 2021-22 season will be back with the team in 2022-23. It seems likely now that the 12 players who will comprise the four lines for the season opener against Florida on Oct. 13 will be players whowore Islanders sweaters last season.

No Alex DeBrincat. No Johnny Gaudreau. No Kevin Fiala. No Nazem Kadri.

So should the fan base be downcast? Not according to Lamoriello, who spoke Monday for the first time since the draft last month, primarily to announce contract extensions for restricted free agents Noah Dobson (three years), Alexander Romanov (three years) and Kieffer Bellows (one year).

“There shouldn’t be any disappointment from anyone,” Lamoriello said. “When we hear the word disappointment, I wonder what that is. Free agents have to make decisions, and also teams have to make decisions. … There’s no disappointment where we’re at because we feel very good about who we are, or we would have made drastic changes last year if we didn’t feel good about the group we have and what they’re capable of doing. I say that with comfortability. I say that with confidence. We’re looking forward to getting back at it and proving everybody wrong.”

more ($$$)

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Status Quo For The New York Islanders

from Kevin Kurz of The Athletic,

There was plenty of smoke, but no fire. Unless, that is, you consider that Nazem Kadri will be wearing an oversized flaming ‘C’ on his sweater next season rather than an Islanders crest.

Amid rampant speculation — and speculation may be putting it politely, in some cases — Kadri will not be joining the Islanders for the upcoming season, reportedly agreeing to a seven-year deal with Calgary. The Islanders’ NHL roster is still exactly the same as it was when the disappointing 2021-22 season came to an end, other than defenseman Alexander Romanov’s arrival from Montreal in a draft day trade last month.

There were rumblings that the Islanders were interested in Kadri, and even reports from credible places that he was offered a contract. The potential move did make sense. General manager Lou Lamoriello had been hinting since the quiet 2022 NHL trade deadline last March that the forward group needed some help, and Kadri, a player he already had a relationship with dating to their time together in Toronto, was coming off of a career-high 87 point season with the Stanley Cup-winning Avalanche.

continued (paid)

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Thinking Of Noah Dobson In Vancouver

from Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province,

Dobson, 22, had 51 points (13-38) in 80 games last season and the 6-foot-4, 195-pound right-shot defender might be in trade play to align with Hughes as the future top pairing.

The Islanders, who missed the playoffs by a whopping 17 points last season, need to prop up their 20th-ranked offence that had just two reach the 20-goal plateau in Brock Nelson (37) and Anders Lee (28). Centre Mathew Barzal slumped to 15 goals and wingers Kyle Palmeiri (15), Josh Bailey (14) and Anthony Beauvillier (12) struggled.

Not exactly the way to christen a sparkling new arena or keep off-season pace with regional rival New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils.

The Rangers signed centre Vincent Trocheck, 29, in free agency to a seven-year, $39.375-million deal (all figures in U.S. dollars). It was Plan B with Ryan Strome bolting to the Anaheim Ducks and kicking the tires on J.T. Miller. The Devils responded by adding winger Ondrej Palat, 31, for five years at $30 million in a front-loaded deal after missing on Johnny Gaudreau. Miller was on their radar, too.

Which, again, brings us to Dobson and Miller and the Islanders.

President of hockey operations Lou Lamoriello has $11 million in salary cap space, but the contract for restricted free agent Dobson should be a big one. His 51-point output is Dahlin territory and the 21-year-old Buffalo Sabres standout will earn $5.8 and $7.2 million the next two seasons.

That might be too rich because Barzal’s deal is up after next season and he’s a $7-million cap hit with $10 million in total salary next season. If he rebounds, it will put the Isles in a big bind.

more

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Nazem Kadri Could Be A Fit With The New York Islanders

from Kevin Kurz of The Athletic,

In fact, it was while Kadri was still with the Maple Leafs that he signed his just-expired contract — a six-year, $27 million deal on April 13, 2016, when Lamoriello was at the helm as Toronto’s general manager.

Does it make sense for the pair to reunite on a new deal? Maybe. The Islanders have had a terribly disappointing offseason, making just one solitary move when they acquired defenseman Alexander Romanov from Montreal during the first round of the NHL Draft on July 7. While that deal has gotten generally good reviews and was vital for a club in desperate need of finding someone to play alongside blossoming young defenseman Noah Dobson, it’s not enough to get the Islanders back into the discussion of being a Stanley Cup contender in 2022-23.

One league source told The Athletic via text message Friday that he had “heard rumblings” that the Islanders were making a push for Kadri.

“It does make some sense,” he added.

Yes, it does, as Lamoriello has indicated enough times in recent months that he’s open to making moves, particularly with the underperforming group up front.

more (paid)

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All Quiet On Long Island

from Andrew Gross of Newsday,

So, yes, after firing Trotz, this offseason became a referendum on how Lamoriello was going to pilot the franchise forward.

But Lamoriello and the Islanders remained silent again on Day 2 of free agency, as was the case after the market opened on Wednesday and Johnny Gaudreau wound up signing with the Blue Jackets and every other team in the Metropolitan Division added pieces and seemingly improved.

On Thursday, solid playmaker Ondrej Palat, who won two Stanley Cups with the Lightning, agreed to a five-year, $30 million deal with the Devils, who, like the Islanders, went hard after Gaudreau.

The Islanders were the only one of the NHL’s 32 teams not to announce a new contract either Wednesday or Thursday.

Maybe this will all make more sense in a couple of weeks, or by the time the puck drops for next season. Maybe the wily and always-secretive Lamoriello has a potent Plan B after missing out on Gaudreau because GMs always have to have a Plan B. So maybe the angst in Islanders’ nation – amplified via social media, which always distorts things anyway – will be alleviated.

But, right now, there’s every reason to worry about how the Islanders will get better next season.

more

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Lane Lambert Named Head Coach Of The New York Islanders

added 11:53am, NYI release is below.

Continue Reading »

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Coaching Style Will Matter To Lou Lamoriello

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

No, of course Lou Lamoriello did not seek his players’ permission to dismiss Barry Trotz, are you kidding me?

But you also couldn’t be more naive if you believe that feedback elicited during the players’ exit meetings did not influence the Islanders’ supreme hockey leader’s decision to cut ties with the coach who had brought the franchise its greatest run of success since the Dynasty.

Those meetings, according to sources with knowledge of the events, did not include the threat of mutiny. But we are told that enough players — and ones who mattered — expressed frustration over the team’s single-dimensional, safety-first, safety-last, grinding approach to the 82-game marathon in this era in which high-end skilled athletes dominate the regular season.

Chances are that these conversations ratified Lamoriello’s independent, eye-test analysis rather than opening his eyes to fissures that might have developed during this longest season.

When it comes to Lamoriello and coaches, it is never about what has been accomplished in the past. It is always about whether Lamoriello believes he has a coach who can take his team to the next level. The next level always means the Stanley Cup.

Even though Trotz has already won one Cup, with Washington in 2018, that mattered about as much as it did to Lamoriello when he fired Larry Robinson in New Jersey a year and a half after winning the 2000 Cup.

continued

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Coaching Candidates For the New York Islanders

Dan Rosen of NHL.com answers some fan mai.  The first question is coaching candidates for the Islanders...

You bring up Lambert. He's been an associate under Trotz the past three seasons. His voice wouldn't be new because the players know him well, but Lambert has also been long considered a future NHL coach. Maybe Lamoriello and the Islanders would feel his voice is new enough because it would be coming from Lambert the coach instead of Lambert the associate. The role matters. My speculation is that Lambert is a candidate. I hesitate to call him a favorite at this point because we just don't know.

Lamoriello worked with Mike Babcock when they were with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Lamoriello was named the Maple Leafs general manager on July 23, 2015, more than two months after Babcock was hired as coach (May 10, 2015). Babcock hasn't coached in the NHL since getting fired by Toronto on Nov. 20, 2019, 18 months after Lamoriello left the Maple Leafs and came to the Islanders. But he raves about Lamoriello and the relationship they had in Toronto and still have. Again, pure speculation, but Babcock is likely a candidate.

more and other questions too...

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Lou Lamoriello Needs To Get It Right

from Neil Best of Newsday,

The Islanders’ president made another one on Monday, an even bigger one than the last.

By parting ways with coach Barry Trotz, saying the team “needs a new voice,” Lamoriello further put himself on the line as the better-be-right decision-maker for a core group whose last hurrah could well be the 2022-23 season.

Not that Lamoriello is intimidated or even concerned by such things. The guy has won three Stanley Cups, will turn 80 shortly after next season begins and has the self-confidence of a piranha.

But Lamoriello has put himself in the spotlight as he ponders what might be his last coaching hire, in hopes said coach can lead what might be his last Cup contender to the finish line.

It’s a lot. But to Lamoriello’s credit, he took full responsibility for the move in a conference call with reporters, saying he told no one about it other than ownership. He scoffed at the notion that he consulted with players.

“I would never even consider thinking of anything like that,” he said. “This decision is on the knowledge that I have of the experiences I’ve had and also going forward as far as what I think and feel is best for this group to have success.”

read on

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

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