As NHL training camps open up, one team to keep an eye on is the New York Islanders. The Islanders came within one game of making the Stanley Cup Final in 2021 losing out to the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning. And who knows what would have happened if they made it to the Stanley Cup Final. Most likely the Islanders would have beaten the Montreal Canadiens, but one will never. However, this season the Islanders are coming into the motivated and hungry to hoist the Stanley Cup as you can see by their moves they are going all in.
New York Islanders Gear Up To Win Stanley Cup
It was a quiet off-season for the New York Islanders. And it should have been considering how far the team went in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It was the second straight season the Islanders made it to the Eastern Conference Final. The Islanders were able to accomplish this feat for the first time since the Islanders made five straight Stanley Cup Final appearances winning four of them. This club under Barry Trotz and Lou Lamoriello has a lot of similarities to those Islanders teams during that dynasty era.
There is a reason why players around the league want to go play for the Islanders now. They have a history of winning, but ever since Lamoriello and Trotz got to Long Island they have become a model franchise. Look the Islanders took the defending Stanley Cup Champions to a Game 7 and lost 1-0. While the offence was a question mark, losing 1-0 to the Lightning gave this team the belief they are not too far off from winning a Stanley Cup.
And you could see it on the faces of the players after they lost how bad they wanted to win. But now the Islanders know what it will take to get past this point and eventually win a Stanley Cup. This is the year the Islanders believe they will finally take the next step and win the Stanley Cup. Just look what they have done this off-season.
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Building A Winning Team
Over the past two trade deadlines, general manager Lou Lamoriello has brought in two impact players they were able to sign long-term. During the run in 2020, the Islanders brought in Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Andy Greene. In the run during the 2021 season, the Islanders brought in Kyle Palmieri, Travis Zajac, and Braydon Coburn. Those additions allowed the Islanders to get as far as they did. And even though they fell short, management knew the team did not need to change much heading into the 2021-22 season.
Lamoriello began the off-season by clearing some cap space as he needed to sign some core players to longer-term contracts. Players like Nick Leddy and Andrew Ladd were sent out via trade. As part of the Leddy trade, the Islanders received Richard Panik. We will see how he fits into this lineup. From there, the Islanders were not that active. The only big move they made was re-signing Adam Pelech to a long-term extension. Pelech had his coming-out party for those that did not know who he was in the playoffs. Alongside Ryan Pulock, they became the Islanders shut down pair going up against the opposition’s top lines.
It was not until September where things really got interesting for this club. The Islanders went to work re-signing four key pieces to their team in Kyle Palmieri, Ilya Sorokin, Anthony Beauvillier, and Casey Cizikas. All of whom played a crucial role in the Islanders getting to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final. In addition, the Islanders also got Anders Lee back from injury. Lee is fully recovered from ACL surgery and has no restrictions to begin the season. Just imagine if they had him against the Lightning, the outcome might have been different.
Finally, the Islanders made the Zach Parise signing official. Parise was brought as a leader and a depth piece. As was Zdeno Chara, who just recently signed. Chara was drafted by the Islanders and is returning back to his first club in hopes of winning the Stanley Cup again. If Chara is used the right way this move will be smart especially given his age and his game not being what it used to be.
The Time Is Now
These moves by the Islanders indicate a change. Lamoriello and Trotz know what this team can bring to the table. They are going all in this season to win now. The players believe in the coach and the coach believes in his players. Lamoriello knew he needed to add some depth and more leadership to this team. You wonder who else they bring in once the trade deadline comes around to put them over the top even more. Do not be surprised to see the New York Islanders raising the Stanley Cup come the end of the season.