The shift over the past three years with the Islanders has been one word: dramatic.
Both on and off the ice, the Isles have become a model for stability and success. Players want to come and play on Long Island now, a brand new building — UBS Arena — will be the franchise’s home this season, and the team has made it three straight years of playoffs with two consecutive third-round appearances in 2020 and 2021.
The organization’s transformation under the Lou Lamoriello-Barry Trotz regime still has a few doubters (frankly I don’t know why), but they might not have much of an argument anymore after The Athletic released its 2021 NHL front office rankings yesterday.
The Islanders, according to the survey done by the fans, place 5th among the entire league. The only teams ahead of them are Tampa Bay, Colorado, Detroit (the most shocking of the clubs ranked in my opinion), and Florida (another wow candidate).
In every category listed — roster building, cap management, draft and development, trading, free agency and vision — the Isles saw slight increases, particularly from the fan base perspective. “From the ownership group to Lou and Barry, this team has completely rebranded themselves,” was one fan’s comment. The dumpster fire that was has been extinguished and rebuilt into a competitive, engaging organization. Proud, once again, to be an Isles fan!â€
Seeing those numbers is a huge jump up from the previous two years where the Islanders ranked — 16th in 2020 and 23rd in 2019. Becoming a legitimate Stanley Cup contender in the short amount of time they have probably helped too.
“The Islanders have become an organization to envy,” stated the site’s analytical wiz Dom Luszczyszyn, “where the magic is real from a full team buy-in and that starts from the top down.” “The vision may be a little different from what other teams are selling, but itâ€™s become impossible not to buy into it.”
Even with how ultra quiet this summer has been for the Islanders, they continue to make tremendous strides. This latest development is just more proof. Credit to Lamoriello, his staff and Trotz for the remarkable work they have done to truly make the Islanders a top franchise once again.
It wasn’t long ago the Isles were lost cause and had no direction, but my how times have changed. They now stand as one of the elite clubs in the NHL and so does their front office.
While we still wait for any news from Lamoriello and Co., some Islander players are already back on Long Island.
At his annual Matt Martin summer hockey camp, Mathew Barzal and Kyle Palmieri — who is still unsigned despite numerous reports he will be back in an Islander uniform — participated in the festivities. There was even a rumor that floated on social media Palmieri was seen clean shaven while working with the kids.
Use your imagination with that little tidbit.
So today at the Matt Martin camp, Matt Barzal autographed my son's hockey stick and gloves and Kyle Palmieri was on the ice with him when my son won a shootout drill
— RichZIsles (@zmanisles) August 25, 2021
Brock Nelson’s rampage this summer in his home state’s DaBeauty League came to an end last night in sad but excellent fashion.
Nelson’s squad, Team Walser, lost in the championship game 10-9 despite him recording a hat trick. His final stat line from the league was 23 goals and 39 points in 10 games.
Brock Nelson with a hatty ?
— Da Beauty League (@DaBeautyLeague) August 26, 2021