The New York Islanders have been inactive the last few weeks, feeding hypotheticals and begging the following question: Is it October yet?
You know you have reached the dog days of the NHL offseason when all bloggers can think of are over-under pieces and the only moves being made are for fourth-line centers.
Yes, it’s been that uninspiring for weeks.
The New York Islanders were supposed to have their most eventful summer in years, yet their last official move came on July 26, when they hired a goaltending director. Since then, there has been complete silence on the Island, despite a profusion of forwards and an obvious void on defense.
Fans have been forced to suffer through highlights from Da Beauty League, where Brock Nelson – yes, that Brock Nelson – is the second-leading scorer. Worse, the Islanders seem to think that surrounding Sparky the Dragon with Mr. Met – you know, the symbol of the most depressing organization in professional sports – is a good idea.
In recent weeks, fans have been dealing with a bunch of hypotheticals. If Joshua Ho-Sang, Nelson, Andrew Ladd and Cal Clutterbuck have bounce-back campaigns. If Mathew Barzal and Nick Leddy compete for major awards. If Robin Lehner can reach his ceiling and steal a couple of wins. If the Islanders improve drastically on defense.
The past few weeks have been that mundane.
But… things are about to get more exciting.
Following weeks of inactivity, the Islanders are poised to shake up their roster. With nearly $11 million in cap space and a number of sizeable holes, Lou Lamoriello will have a golden opportunity to make some big trades. Considering that the Islanders have 15 forwards for just 12 spots, something is bound to happen – right?
Recently, the media have tossed around some big names – Erik Karlsson, Max Pacioretty, Justin Faulk, Alex Petrovic – as potential trade targets for New York. In addition, there’s a smaller market of free agent defensemen that could still be scooped up, as highlighted by Chris Botta of Islanders Point Blank/SNY.
The Islanders kick off their preseason slate on Sunday, Sept. 16, when they take on the Philadelphia Flyers at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. From there, they’ll play the Orange & Black another three times and even skate in Oshawa and Bridgeport.
There are a number of storylines to follow during the month of September: How is Josh Ho-Sang’s defensive zone play? Did Michael Dal Colle work on his skating? Will Kieffer Bellows make the team? Which young defensemen will stand out?
The Islanders begin their season on the road. On Oct. 4, they’ll travel to Carolina to take on Calvin de Haan and the Hurricanes, in what is bound to be an emotional game for everyone involved. On Dec. 1, the Isles will return to the Coliseum for a long-awaited regular season reunion. And on Feb. 29, former captain John Tavares will come back to Barclays Center to play against his former team for the first time.
But before we can get to any of that, we still have to get through the dog days of summer.
Is it October yet?