The ascension of the New York Islanders has caught the attention of hockey fans across the league, and the fun may just be getting started for Lou Lamoriello.
Pierre LeBrun had a Thursday evening radio hit on Montreal’s TSN 690.
With the Canadiens and Islanders squaring off, much of the segment was spent looking at the remarkable improvement the Islanders have made in 2018-19 under Barry Trotz and Lou Lamoriello.
At one point, LeBrun was asked to drill down on the Lamoriello angle a tad.
“It was crushing to Lamoriello to lose Tavares,” LeBrun reflected. “The Tavares thing went to the eleventh hour. It was down to either staying with the Islanders or going to the Leafs, and that was really tough to stomach for Lamoriello.
“And then he made some very non-headline moves. He brings in Filppula, brings in Robin Lehner, a few other little moves - none of them grabbing attention of anyone, but they’ve all panned out. Komarov, I still think it’s a little too much money for Leo Komarov, but he’s played well. He’s part of the fabric of that team, where you don’t like playing against him.
“Believe me, this is just the beginning. It’s a scary feeling for other teams around the league, I would suggest, that the Islanders have a ton of cap room now - I think they have the fourth-most cap room right now in the NHL - and they might even have more if they don’t re-sign - they have eight pending UFAs. They’re going to want to keep some of them. I’m sure they want to keep Brock Nelson and Anders Lee, their captain, but they may not keep everyone.
“So they already have cap room. They may have even more. I would say watch out. I think they’ll be players on Panarin. I think they’ll be players on the trade market. And who knows if an offer sheet comes out of there.
“So I think the Islanders will be a real wild card team in the offseason.”