The NHL has been full of activity in recent weeks, except for the New York Islanders who have not made any moves in free agency.
The New York Islanders finished the 2021/22 season 16 points outside of a wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, and the general belief was that the team would be making a concerted effort to improve its roster.
So far, very little has happened in that regard. The biggest move of note to date is the early July trade that saw the Isles acquire defenceman Alexander Romanov and a fourth-round pick in exchange for their first-rounder this year.
But what is raising many eyebrows is the fact that the team has made no moves since the draft, with free agency having been open 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 were reports that the Islanders were in on the Nazem Kadri sweepstakes, attempting to bring the Stanley Cup champion to Long Island before he opted to sign with the Calgary Flames this past week.
Outside of this, however, there has been a deafening silence from the team, seeing the top available players find new homes, leaving a range of big-name veterans who are likely looking for their last opportunities to continue playing in the NHL – including the likes of Phil Kessel, P.K. Subban, and Paul Statsny.
There are, however, other more interesting free agents available, including Zach Ashton-Reese and Sonny Milano, both of whom could have a positive impact on a team such as the Islanders, who have one of the oldest offensive groups in the entire league.
Not every team feels the need to add during free agency, but the Islanders have three restricted free agents of their own that still have not had new deals signed – including Noah Dobson, Kieffer Bellows, and the aforementioned Romanov.
Dobson is particularly surprising, as the 22-year-old is expected to be a key piece to the team for the foreseeable future after posting an impressive 51 points (13 goals, 38 assists) in 80 games this past season.
Romanov, also, is a surprising situation considering how highly he is clearly 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 is a conspiracy spreading across social media and even in some more mainstream outlets, where there is a general belief that Lamoriello, who is notorious for keeping things under wraps, has in fact agreed to deals with all of his existing free agents and may have even added some new faces to the team – only to not announce anything publicly.
This would play right into Lamoriello’s M.O. but would be quite a surprising move when the fanbase is so clearly desperate for some positive news after a disappointing season and a long off-season with very little in the way of news.
There will come a time when news must be shared publicly, such as during training camp where it will be impossible to hide any new faces if there are any, but the fans deserve to know what is happening with the team and some form of news needs to be forthcoming soon.