Islanders ‘open to anything’ as 2022 NHL Draft nears


MONTREAL — The first act of a vital month for the Islanders kicks off Thursday night. Fans hoping for general manager Lou Lamoriello to give him a hand forward surely know that hope is in vain.

« I think like everything else, » Lamoriello said after the NHL general manager’s meetings on Wednesday, « you’re open to anything.

The Islanders hold the 13th pick in the first round of the draft. The first decision in front of Lamoriello is whether to make the choice or trade him for something that can provide the organization with more immediate help than an 18-year-old who probably won’t reach the NHL for a few years. If Lamoriello chooses not to walk through that door, there’s the question of who to take from a draft he says contains a « good enough » selection.

« There are good players, » Lamoriello said. « And the question is, they’re still at a certain age where there’s some unknown. We think we will have a good choice. Our staff are happy where we are, and we have a few situations depending on who is there. It’s like everything else.

Lou Lamoriello
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Given that the Islanders believe their championship window is open, it’s a logical next step to believe that the current roster will have all the priorities. Over the next few weeks, the Islanders must figure out their defense corps, which will likely lose Zdeno Chara, Andy Greene and Sebastian Aho, and lacked speed and transition last season.

Lamoriello said Wednesday there had been no discussions with Chara, 45, or Greene, 39 (both of whom are considering retirement) regarding a return. Noah Dobson, who just finished a 51-point season, will also need to be re-signed as he enters restricted free agency.

If the opportunity arises at some point over the next few days, it might make sense for the Islanders to do some business on their blue line now, instead of waiting for free agency, which will depend on their salary. inconstant. -cap situation and the whims of individual players.

« We’ll be as active as we can to make ourselves better, » Lamoriello said of free agency, which begins July 13. « Whatever we have to do, we’ll do to make ourselves better. But remember, it takes two to make a deal. We all have our wish list. … But we’re happy with our group. That’s obvious. We are. »

That sentiment, which fuels the belief that 2021-22 was a fluke amid an otherwise competitive run, will underscore everything the Islanders will or won’t do this offseason. They believe they can win with the core they have.

« When you draft 13, in other words, you’re open to anything that’s going to make you better, » Lamoriello said. « Be it today, tomorrow, but you’re not going to do anything stupid. But you’re open. You have to be open. »

Lamoriello said there were no concerns over Ilya Sorokin’s status despite the goalkeeper returning home to Russia in the offseason. After Flyers prospect Ivan Fedotov was reportedly sent to a military base after allegedly trying to escape duty, the league is concerned about whether Russian players who have returned home will be allowed to return amid the country’s war against Ukraine.

Sorokin’s agent, Dan Milstein, did not respond to a text message from The Post asking for clarification on his situation.

« I’m very comfortable in the situation of our players, » Lamoriello said. « Everything is sometimes excessive. »

New assistant coach Doug Houda will work with defensemen, and Brian Wiseman’s role will be centered on offense. Lamoriello said there were no plans to hire a third assistant coach and that nothing would change regarding Piero Greco’s role as goalkeeping coach or Mitch Korn’s as goalkeeping director. aim.

Bode Wilde, the Islanders’ 2018 second-round pick, is still « in limbo » over his unvaccinated status, Lamoriello said. Wilde played 40 games for Vasterviks IK in Sweden’s second tier last season, scoring 10 points.


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