The summer of Lou Lamoriello rolls on, as the New York Islanders general manager’s (GM) reign of silence has everyone wondering just what he’s up to, just the way he likes it.
Some say the silence is deafening, while others haven’t a clue as to why a single signing hasn’t been announced six days after the free agency period has opened. In fact, they’re the only team in the NHL to not have signed anyone thus far.
In the latest 31 Thoughts: the Podcast (soon to be 32 Thoughts: the Podcast), Elliotte Friedman shed some light on the latest rumors and rumblings surrounding the Islanders that should have most fans relieved.
Rumors and Rumblings
Friedman first states that he believes there’s a strategic reason as to why Lamoriello has not revealed any of his master plans from behind the curtain.
It’s a bold strategy by Lamoriello, but not one that should surprise many as he’s known for disliking information leaking to the media. So much so that in a guest spot on The Athletic’s No Sleep Til Belmont podcast, Friedman stated, “when he was still the GM in (New) Jersey and he traded the ninth overall pick, which turned out to be Bo Horvat for Cory Schneider, I had that deal, and the (Vancouver) Canucks wouldn’t tell me. They told me that he said to them, ‘if I’m walking up on stage and I hear it’s out there, I’m changing that deal.'”
So, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Lamoriello keeps his cards close to his chest. However, Friedman’s reasoning makes a lot of sense. It’s been long rumored now that the Islanders are in the mix for St. Louis Blues sniper Vladamir Tarasenko, who requested a trade from the Blues and listed the Islanders on his list of teams he’d waive his no-trade clause (NTC) for. With Lamoriello needing to address the contracts of restricted free-agents Anthony Beauvillier, Adam Pelech, and Ilya Sorokin, as well as trying to bring back unrestricted free agents Casey Cizikas and Kyle Palmieri, no one has a clue as to how much cap space the Islanders would have to work with, something Lamoriello can use to his advantage in trade negotiations if he wants the other team to retain salary.
It could become a little clearer in a few weeks, as Pelech has elected to file for arbitration, and his contract will be settled sometime between August 11 and August 26. As for Beauvillier and Sorokin, they did not file for arbitration, so the tea leaves would indicate they’ve reached agreements on contracts.
Latest Islanders Content:
- Islanders Have 3 Questions to Answer During Training Camp
- New York Islanders 2021-22 Season Preview Section
- Scouting the Islanders Through Metropolitan Division Eyes
- NHL Rumors: Oilers, Islanders, Blues, Canadiens, More
- Islanders Sign Zdeno Chara to a One-Year Contract
“I do think he’s got a deal he’s working on,” stated Friedman. “I don’t know if it’s Tarasenko or someone else. That’s my theory, he’s working on a trade and doesn’t want anyone to know how much cap room he’s got.”
There are certainly some other names that could be available via the trade market aside from Tarasenko. Depending on what the Calgary Flames decide to do with their future, Johnny Gaudreau is a first-line winger who would likely work well alongside the Islanders Mathew Barzal and Anders Lee. The same is true of the San Jose Sharks, where a winger such as Timo Meier could intrigue Lamoriello. Meier is a former 30-goal scorer and going into just his age-25 season. It might be costly, but his ceiling is worth it, and his age fits in with the young core of the Islanders.
As for the previously mentioned RFAs and UFAs, there’s some buzz around what Cizikas’ next contract might look like. Friedman suggests that there’s a rumor floating around that Cizikas already signed a six-year, $15 million contract. That would see Cizikas through his age-36 season.
The term seems to be more valuable than the dollar amount in this situation, as it was also rumored the Seattle Kraken pursued Cizikas hard, offering him a $5 million average annual value; however, it appears he’s opting to stay on Long Island.
Zach Parise has long been rumored to become an Islander, and it appears it’s finally about to transpire. Parise visited Long Island and has reportedly already agreed to a one-year contract, according to David Pagnotta and thefourthperiod.com, which certainly aligns with Friedman’s thoughts. The 37-year-old winger will make for a great addition to the Islanders’ third line next to J.G. Pageau and Oliver Wahlstrom while also adding a little necessary juice to their power play.
As for Palmieri, the fact that he hasn’t already signed with another team should speak volumes. Rumors indicate that he’s working on or already agreed to a long-term contract with the Islanders, though the terms are unknown. Frank Seravalli, former TSN analyst and now Daily Faceoff contributor, had this to say about Palmieri on The DFO Rundown podcast:
“That deal, I think, is already done. I don’t think Kyle Palmieri misses the first two days of free agency without something in his back pocket.”The DFO Rundown with Frank Seravalli and Jason Gregor
Palmieri, a former 30-goal scorer, would certainly have suitors lined up to try and sign him, even going into his age-30 season. He had an excellent run in the 2020-21 NHL playoffs, scoring seven goals in 19 games, and showed plenty of snarl that teams would covet on the open market. Thus, the silence on his free-agent status speaks volumes, and it’s likely there’s already an agreement in place, and his contract is in Lamoriello’s drawer.
It certainly appears as though the Islanders are trying to make a big splash this offseason. The secrets Lamoriello is keeping certainly align with the idea, and it could all be part of his master plan. Last offseason, it was a long time before we knew the fates of former free agents Barzal, Ryan Pulock, and Matt Martin, and it appears we could be heading towards a similar resolution in the summer of 2021.
Want more Islanders content? Check out the Nassaumen Hockey Podcast, hosted by The Hockey Writers authors James Nichols and Jon Zella. Follow on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts!
James is a THW New York Islanders writer and podcast host of Nassaumen Hockey Podcast. A trusted source for Islanders content for many years at THW, James is passionate about keeping Islander fans up to date on the latest in Islanders news. Other content contributions also include his Co-Editor-in-Chief status for NYIslesBlog.com. For interview requests or to provide content info, follow James on Twitter.