What are the New York Islanders doing with the free hand?

The NHL has been buzzing with activity over the past few weeks, with the exception of the New York Islanders, who have not made any free moves.

That New York Islanders ended the 2021/22 season with 16 points outside of a wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, and the general belief was that the team would make a concerted effort to improve their roster.

So far very little has happened in this regard. The biggest notable move so far is the early July trade in which the Islands acquired defender Alexander Romanov and a fourth-round pick in exchange for their first-round pick this year.

However, what raises a lot of eyebrows is the fact that the team hasn’t made any moves since the draft, as free agency has been open for almost a month at the time of writing and no new faces have been announced by the team.

State of the New York Islanders in Free Agency

There have been reports that the Islanders entered the Nazem Kadri sweepstakes and attempted to bring the Stanley Cup champion to Long Island before he settled on a contract with the Calgary Flames last week.

That aside, however, there was a deafening silence within the team as the best players available found new homes, leaving a number of notable veterans likely looking for their last chances to continue playing in the NHL — including the likes of Phil Kessel, PK Subban and Paul Statsny.

However, there are other more interesting free agents available, including Zach Ashton-Reese and Sonny Milano, both of whom could make a positive impact on a team like the Islanders, who have one of the oldest offensive groups in the entire league.

Not every team feels the need to add something during free agency, but the Islanders have three of their own limited free agents who have yet to sign new contracts – including Noah Dobson, Kieffer Bellows and the aforementioned Romanov.

Dobson is particularly surprising as the 22-year-old looks set to be a key figure for the team for the foreseeable future, having recorded an impressive 51 points (13 goals, 38 assists) in 80 games last season.

Romanov, too, is a surprising situation considering how highly he is viewed by President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Lou Lamoriello, who gave up a fairly high first-round pick (13th overall) to get him from the Montreal Canadiens.

There’s a conspiracy spreading on social media and even some mainstream outlets where it’s widely believed that Lamoriello, notorious for keeping things under wraps, actually agreed to deals with all of his existing free agents and may even have added some new faces to the team – just not to announce anything publicly.

This would fit right into Lamoriello’s MO, but would be a pretty surprising move when the fanbase is so desperate for positive news after a disappointing season and a long off-season with very little news.

There will come a time when news needs to be shared publicly, such as during training camp, where it will be impossible to hide new faces if there are any, but fans deserve to know what’s happening with the team and some form of news must appear soon.

https://fansided.com/2022/08/21/new-york-islanders-free-agency/ What are the New York Islanders doing with the free hand?

John Verrall

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