Lou Lamoriello’s first year and a half as the New York Islanders’ general manager were quiet. Other than bringing in a well-respected coach in Barry Trotz, he stayed out of the spotlight, mostly re-signing his players and making no moves in his first trade deadline with New York.
However, that all changed in 2020 as Lamoriello went out and filled two glaring holes. The Islanders first made what at the time seemed like a minor deal acquiring Andy Greene from the New Jersey Devils before their biggest splash in years, trading three picks for Jean-Gabriel Pageau of the Ottawa Senators.
While the Islanders seemed interested in trading Andrew Ladd in a deal for Zach Parise, they did not pull the trigger, yet bolstered their team with the call-up of Ladd from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. New York ended up making a minor move trading for Jordan Schmaltz though that will likely not affect the NHL club. With all that being said, let’s analyze the Islanders and what type of team they are heading into the final 22 games.
Andy Greene: B+
The Islanders gave up a hefty price for Andy Greene with a second-round pick. Still, Greene seems to have replaced Adam Pelech after the young defender was lost for the season with an Achilles injury. Through the first handful of games, Greene had done an excellent job of preventing some scoring chances and has chipped in with a pair of assists.
While the Islanders still have high hopes for rookie Noah Dobson, Lamoriello felt a little more experience could help as Dobson falls back to the seventh defensemen where he has been most of the year. Greene has played with Scott Mayfield and is reunited with Lamoriello after their time in New Jersey. His presence on the penalty kill will be a huge role as one of the best shot blockers in the NHL.
It was also doubtful the Islanders would move any of their top-six defensemen for a forward. While they have depth in the AHL with Thomas Hickey and Sebastian Aho, they have been reluctant to insert anyone new into the lineup. Hickey has battled an injury with the Sound Tigers and has yet to play in the NHL, as they have only used seven defensemen all year. Aho has received multiple call-ups throughout the year after a strong season in the AHL.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau: A
The biggest question with the Pageau trade was, would they be able to re-sign him? Currently having his best season in the NHL, the Islanders dealt a first-round and second-round pick in 2020 as well as a conditional third-round pick in 2022 if the Islanders win the Stanley Cup this season. The move will not only help them with their third-line center but shows the Islanders can compete with the rest of the division after an active deadline.
The price does not seem as high knowing they have Pageau for the remainder of this season and for six more after extending him to a six-year, $30 million contract extension. While he can probably be a second-line center on many teams, the Islanders have two top centers in Mat Barzal and Brock Nelson. Pageau will likely help on special teams as well. He is a strong penalty killer and will insert himself onto the second unit of the power play to provide some secondary scoring.
“When you’re looking at a center you try and get a complete player that can play in all situations, Lamoriello said. ” Certainly this young man fit the bill.”@NYIslanders
With Cal Clutterbuck and Casey Cizikas still out with injuries, Derick Brassard will likely continue to play center, but once everyone is healthy, it will allow the Islanders to move Brassard to the wing. The veteran had a strong start to the season playing with Brock Nelson and Anthony Beauvillier and should get his shot down the stretch when Cizikas returns and also has a strong relationship with his former teammate.
Zach Parise and Andrew Ladd
At 12 p.m. on Monday, it seemed like it was only a matter of when rather than if the Islanders would acquire veteran Parise. However, as 3 p.m. came by, there was no deal in place. The move could have helped in the short-term, though it was a trade that New York may have regretted in a couple of years. They would also likely had to give up another piece within the organization to have made it work.
The Islanders still need another scorer, but they did not seem to want to give up any of their prospects. New York is going to need players like Jordan Eberle, Josh Bailey, and Anders Lee to pick it up for them to be successful. While Ladd was not a part of the trade, he becomes an option to play on the third line with Pageau and Michael Dal Colle. Ladd has certainly not lived up to his contract yet, but if they can get six solid weeks from him to end the season, a lot could be forgotten.
Pageau’s first game will likely be a memorable one as he faces the New York Rangers. His highlight in his career came against the Rangers with his fourth goal game-winner in double overtime in the playoffs. Currently in a playoff spot, the Islanders will continue their busy schedule in the month of February hoping to expand on their playoff series victory from a year ago.
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