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The Islanders Offseason Decisions Aren’t Looking Good

The Islanders Offseason Decisions Aren't Looking Good

With the New York Islanders now losing 13 of their last 15 games, it seems as though this will be a lost season for the once Stanley Cup hopeful team. There have been a lot of factors to blame for this tough start, and their offseason decision making is beginning to look like one of them. Specifically their expansion draft choices as well as some of the key free agent signings have not played out well. Those decisions are starting to look really bad with the team’s significant struggles thus far. 

Expansion Draft Decisions: Matt Martin

The Islanders Offseason Decisions Aren't Looking Good

Courtesy of NHL

One of the biggest talking points of the expansion draft was the Islanders exposing Josh Bailey and Jordan Eberle. There was a lot of criticism of Lou Lamiorello protecting Cal Clutterbuck and Matt Martin over those two. And thus far, that criticism has aged particularly well. Specifically in regards to Matt Martin, who hasn’t looked great to start the year. He’s slower, sloppier and hasn’t had the same level of intensity that normally makes him great on the fourth line. Additionally, the team has Ross Johnston who plays the same game as Martin, but does have that speed and intensity. Overall, the decision to protect Martin from the expansion draft looks worse and worse with each passing moment. Especially given what that decision cost the Islanders. 

Expansion Draft Decisions: Jordan Eberle/Josh Bailey

The Islanders Offseason Decisions Aren't Looking Good
Courtesy of NHL

Exposing Matt Martin would’ve left the Islanders able to protect Jordan Eberle. Notice that Josh Bailey’s name wasn’t mentioned. Eberle has a Kraken team high 12 goals and 18 total points, good for second on the team. Bailey has a mere one goal and eight assists across 19 games. It’s clear who the better player is and who the Islanders would benefit more from having right now. Bailey’s lack of offensive aggressiveness and routine poor decisions with the puck have been no help to this team. Eberle still can rack up a lot of points, and legitimately showed improvement in his puck handling and defensive awareness. Keeping Eberle would’ve added half a million more against the cap, but it would’ve been well worth it. These poor decisions in the expansion draft are just one of many decisions reflecting poorly on the team.

Free Agent Signing: Zdeno Chara

The Islanders Offseason Decisions Aren't Looking Good
Courtesy of Getty Images

If you like players who love to fight, then Chara has checked that box for the Islanders. Aside from that, Chara hasn’t checked many other positive boxes for the team. He provides pretty much nothing offensively, which isn’t the worst thing for a defenseman but isn’t ideal. The problem is he hasn’t provided pretty much anything on the defensive side of the puck either. Once a team has the puck in their zone, it’s almost impossible for the Islanders to get it out with him on the ice. This results in a lot of high danger chances for the opposition that often lead to goals. The biggest flaw of his game is that he’s just too slow to be a reliable day to day starting defenseman for the team. He can’t keep up with a fast paced game and it’s further hampering an already struggling defensive unit. 

Free Agent Signing: Kyle Palmieri

The Islanders Offseason Decisions Aren't Looking Good
Courtesy of Icon Sportswire

Kyle Palmieri on the Islanders was a story of two players prior to this past offseason. There was the regular season version of Palmieri which lacked any kind of substantial production. Then there was the playoff version of Palmieri, who was amongst the team leaders in goals and points. Unfortunately for the Islanders, they’re currently stuck with the former version of Kyle Palmieri. After signing a 4 year, $20 million deal to stay with the Islanders, Palmieri has only one goal and six assists with the Islanders through 24 games. He’s looked just as abysmal as Josh Bailey thus far, he’s adding nothing to this team. His -11 +/- is a pretty good indication of how little Palmieri has provided to this team. He’s very quickly turning into Andrew Ladd version 2.0. He was a great player, but it’s evident his best days are behind him. The Islanders seem to be stuck with another big contract attached to a player that isn’t making any significant impact.

Featured image courtesy of Getty Images

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Juju December 16, 2021 at 5:05 pm

I agree. Lamoriello is not doing a good job

Anonymous December 16, 2021 at 5:07 pm

Very good article ! I totally agree except about Bailey’s poor decisions on the ice…Bailey as one of the best hockey IQ in this team. Lamoriello had in mind to go for Palmieri before the expansion draft (so he did trade for him and Zajac) and he knew that he was going to sign him. So its not to choose between Bailey and Eberley…The fact is that Lamoriello could and SHOULD kept both of them. And about Martin you are right ! And i totally agree, but the reason why he was not exposed to the expension draft is…that he is married with the daughter of the owner Malkin…And thats why he had his contract…Lamoriello made poor decisions too…many poor decisions…Palmiery and Zajac, Parisé, Chara and Green… and trading one of their best defensemen in Toews (playing as an elite defensemen in Colorado this year) and exposed Bailey and Eberley (12 goals and 18 points as you mentionned) to the expension draft… The only good decision he made was to trade for Pageau. So Lamoriello isnt working like a good GM…I agree with you.


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