August 32-in-32: New York Islanders

Sean Crocker

2022-08-25

The 32-in-32 Series is an annual event here at DobberProspects! Every day in August we will be bringing you a complete breakdown of a team’s draft, and insights into their off-season movements thus far. Following this up in September, we will dive into every team’s prospect depth charts with fantasy insights and implications for the upcoming seasons. Check back often, because we plan on filling your hockey withdrawal needs all off-season long!

Just one year removed from back-to-back Eastern Conference Finals appearances against the eventual champions, the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Islanders find themselves in limbo with an aging core and in desperate need of a meaningful injection of youth into their lineup. The Isles failed to qualify for the postseason for the first time since the 2017-18 season, dating back to the final year of John Tavares’ tenure with the orange, white and blue. 

The 2021-22 season got off on the wrong foot for the Islanders, starting the season with a 13-game road trip while UBS Arena finished construction. They fell victim to a major COVID-19 outbreak in November which depleted a large portion of their roster. This contributed to an 11-game losing streak, forcing them close to the basement of the Eastern Conference standings by the end of the month. The Islanders were at a disadvantage later in the season too, making up a large portion of those games among others as other teams grappled with the pandemic. 

The Islanders got busy rearranging the coaching staff following the campaign when they let Barry Trotz go to promote his long-time assistant coach Lane Lambert to the helm. The move raised eyebrows around the league, given Trotz’s pedigree, but Lou Lamoriello and company decided that a change behind the bench was needed for this team to take the next step.  

The Islanders are yet to sign a free agent this offseason, and while we all know Lamoriello likes to keep his cards close to his chest, it is increasingly hard to imagine the Islanders will be able to get a major upgrade via free agency or through a trade that will not cost the team dearly in assets. With a little under a month until training camp starts, a lot can happen. With the scene for the Islanders being bleaker than once thought, Islanders fans can only hope Lamoriello can pull out that major move we have all seen him pull off in the past. But the question is will it be enough to salvage the offseason and ultimately the upcoming campaign? We might have that answer sooner than we might expect. 

THE DRAFT

The Islanders held the 13th overall selection heading into the weekend in Montreal, but that was short-lived when Commissioner Bettman announced the deal that sent the pick to the host Canadiens in exchange for left-shooting blueliner Alexander Romanov. The Islanders have not picked in the first round since 2019 when they took Simon Holmstrom 23rd overall. With an aging core, Lamoriello checked off two boxes in injecting a youthful piece into his top-four defensive core while subsequently improving the defensive group. This move put an exclamation on the fact the Islanders need to be able to compete now with an aging core of players mostly on the wrong side of 30. Overall, a move that brings you a top-four caliber defenceman at just 22 years of age, which is a solid move all around. 

Round Two, 65th Overall – Calle Ode