The Islanders are still building (not rebuilding). At this juncture they also have to balance the $$$, leave room for kids, and make moves to make themselves better. All too often, fans seem to get caught up in what the organization feels are more lateral moves for the sake of making moves. When you are a team close to the cap ceiling, it requires a different set of decisions than just “sign, sign, sign.” There seems to be a long-view philosophy, not just a win-now philosophy. Both must be taken into account as we go further this summer.
I know some fans are frustrated in watching other teams gain free agents (to what is an underwhelming UFA class, btw). However, different circumstances and rosters dictate different decisions.
Part of it seems to be an illusion that being “close” needs “veteran leadership”. I’m not really so sure on that.
What the team needs is kids to get better. Think Ryan Strome just a a 50 point player? Is Anders Lee topped out at 25 goals in his rookie year?
What seems realistic is the right additions if possible now. However, what seems paramount is leaving some flexibility with cap for cap casualties to fall into the Isles lap if possible. They also will leave room for kids to move into line-up to give more cap space.
Above all… the team needs to have the assets to move for the RIGHT deal when opportunity presents itself.
Here is a Free Agency truth that gets lost within the frenzy. More mistakes are made on July 1 than any other time.
Patience allows the right things to happen, even if not in the time frame of fan hopes…
This is why I believe the Islanders have been working since the draft on making key trades.
I believe they are attempting a bit of what we saw at the draft in asset management… but this time for the NHL-level club.
All we have to do is hearken back to last year at day 1, were the Isles faithful were extremely frustrated, only to have several items come together in Day 2. Then in October, changes happened as they gained cap crunch casualties by gaining Leddy and Boychuk.
I’m not sure the Islanders are going to catch lightning in the bottle in October once again, but there is every indication that something is afoot. Don’t expect them to just sign someone. Expect them to look for trades… and not just in moving Michael Grabner off the roster. The NY Islanders seems to be working on the trade front since before the NHL Draft. Every indicator is they are still attempting something substantial. Will they be successful?
That’s the million dollar cap hit question.
Now onto Day 2.