With Islanders’ Rookie Camp beginning on Thursday, general manager Lou Lamoriello addressed the media on Monday. In his press conference, he addressed the statuses of various mainstays from last year’s roster, future pieces, and off-ice personnel. With an important season for the Islanders ahead, what were the takeaways on the comments from Lamoriello?
Lambert, Coaching Staff To Return
In an expected move, Lane Lambert and his coaching staff will be back. At the start of the offseason, Lamoriello noted that he and Lambert were under contract unless told otherwise, and his recent comments confirmed they and the entire coaching staff will return, including power play coach John MacLean. Despite the team finishing dead last in power play conversion rate at 15.8 percent, along with one power play goal in their series against Carolina, Lamoriello felt the pieces are there for a bounceback season. Lamoriello said, “I’m not concerned about, I think our power play will rebound, respond. We have the ingredients,” and added that something was missing from last season’s unit. With Mat Barzal back healthy and Bo Horvat in the lineup for all 82 games, a resurgence is possible, but it will be necessary for the Islanders’ to finish stronger than last season.
Parise Will Not Be at Training Camp:
With Zach Parise contemplating his future throughout the offseason, Lamoriello gave a long anticipated update on his status for this season. As of right now, Parise will not be at training camp and is not under contract for next season. However, Lamoriello made it abundantly clear that he has not officially retired yet and the door is still open for a potential return. Regardless, Parise will not be with the Islanders to start the season, meaning the team will need to find someone who can take his spot in his absence.
Prospects Will Be Given a Closer Look:
Obviously with Rookie Camp beginning this week, the future of the team will get an extended look. However, Lamoriello showed confidence in some of the Islanders’ younger pieces in his comments, particularly Ruslan Iskhakov and William Dufour. Iskhakov enjoyed a breakout year with the AHL Islanders, notching 17 goals and 34 assists in 69 games, while Dufour tallied 21 goals in his first pro season. Lamoriello said, “I don’t like to name people but whether it’s Iskhakov or Dufour, they’re close. How close, we’ll find out,” so their performance to start the pre-season will be interesting to watch, especially with Parise’s status in limbo. The Islanders have been one of the older teams in hockey for the past few seasons, so to see some youth continue to emerge will be huge for their future aspirations.
Alex Romanov May Miss the Start of Camp
One of the breakout pieces from the Islanders’ season last year was Alex Romanov. The Islanders sent a first round pick to the Montreal Canadiens for his services, and he developed into a steady middle pair defenseman. However, he got hurt at the end of last season, missing the final games of the regular season. He came back for the team’s playoff matchup with the Carolina Hurricanes but received shoulder surgery this offseason. When asked about his status, Lamoriello said, “it’ll be close. He’s skating. He’s doing everything. We will be as cautious as we possibly can.” With Romanov potentially missing the start of camp, eyes could fall on Samuel Bolduc or Sebastian Aho before Romanov hits the ice. However, this all depends on Romanov’s status entering camp, which is up in the air as of right now.
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