New York Islanders: Lou Lamoriello’s Case for General Manager of the Year

New York Islanders, Lou Lamoriello

New York Islanders‘ general manager Lou Lamoriello is a nominee for the Jim Gregory award. This award goes to the best general manager of the year, as voted by his peers. Mr. Lamoriello has a strong case for winning this award. The Islanders’ captain and franchise player John Tavares left in free agency, and just 700+ days later, the Islanders are in the ECF. This doesn’t just happen off of good coaching; there needs to be a good roster put forth. Lou Lamoriello gave the Islanders the extra pieces they needed to make a deep playoff run.

Trading for Pageau

J.G. Pageau has been one of the Islanders’ top playoff performers this year. Also, Pageau doesn’t lose too many faceoffs. On top of that, Pageau also is on the penalty kill. Lou Lamoriello traded late-round conditional picks for a second-line center and then signed him hours later to a cheap contract. Pageau is a perfect Islander, and Lamoriello traded virtually nothing for him. How many points did that late first-rounder score?

Signed Ilya Sorokin

The Islanders drafted goalie Ilya Sorokin in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. It took six years just to sign him. Lou Lamoriello not only signed Ilya Sorokin for this year but resigned him to a one year deal. Lamoriello signed Sorokin twice in the span of a day, while Garth Snow couldn’t sign Sorokin at all. Sorokin is going to be a key piece in the Isles’ quest to become Stanley Cup champions.

Signing Derick Brassard

Every Islander fan always moans about how there are too many bottom-six forwards on the roster, how the young guys won’t get a shot because of that. The young guys like Bellows, Wahlstrom, and Holmstrom have to prove they’re worthy of taking spots away from these veterans. Derick Brassard is the name that comes to mind. Yes, Brassard is inconsistent. But, Brassard has scored some clutch goals as of late. Don’t forget his amazing pass to Andy Greene, leading to a goal in game 7.

Trading for Andy Greene

Yes, Andy Greene has taken some costly penalties and turned the puck over a lot as of late. But, he was the perfect replacement for Adam Pelech when he went down. Greene is top 5 in shot blocks, and he’s a veteran leader. His play alongside Dobson in the regular season is amazing for Dobson’s development. Greene has scored some big goals in the playoffs and has been a solid top 6 defenseman.

Conclusion

Lou Lamoriello should be the general manager of the year. He took the Islanders roster from one of the worst on paper to a respectable one. The Islanders are in a better position for the future with Lamoriello at the helm.

New York Islanders: Round 2 Matchup Breakdown

Ryan Pulock, New York Islanders

The New York Islanders will face off against the Philidelphia Flyers in round 2 of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. This is an intriguing matchup for sure; both teams match up pretty evenly. The Flyers come into this series as the best team in the Eastern Conference. The Islanders come into this series as the underdog. Are the Flyers really the best team in the East? Are the Islanders really the underdogs in this series?

Forwards

During the regular season, the Flyers’ forward group was among one of the most dangerous in the league. Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, Travis Konecny, and Kevin Hayes led this group of amazing forwards. Recently though, the Flyers’ top forwards have been slacking in production. Voracek leads the Flyers in points with 8. It’s not like they aren’t producing, they just aren’t living up to expectations.

The Islanders’ forward group is so very confusing. Josh Bailey leads the Isles in points with 10. 8 of those 10 points are assists; Bailey has quietly become one of the best passers left in the playoffs. Other forwards like Anthony Beauvillier, JG Pageau, and Brock Nelson continue to impress. Also, Mat Barzal has recently been picking his play up. I’d still give the advantage to the Flyers, though. The Isles forwards were a little too streaky during the season, but their playoff performances speak for themselves, though.

Defenseman

The Islanders would be the better defensive team even if it was Griffin Reinhart out there with Brian Strait. Barry Trotz makes the Isles the best defensive team. Especially with talented defenders like Ryan Pulock, Adam Pelech, and Devon Toews, the Isles might have the best defensive scheme in all of Hockey. Ryan Pulock has a booming slapper, while Adam Pelech has amazing stick play. Devon Toews is a fast two-way defender, and Scott Mayfield is an enforcer who can kill the power-play. Andy Greene and Nick Leddy are the two oldies who can still hold their own offensively and defensively. Yes, I know the Flyers have Ivan Provorov and Shayne Gostisbhere, but they don’t have Barry Trotz. Isles are better defensively.

Goalies

This is a really even matchup for the goalies. Semyon Varlamov has been nothing short of spectacular as of late. Varlamov currently has a 1.59 GAA and a .935 save percentage with one shutout. Carter Hart has really anchored this Philly team and shown them the power of a good goalie. Hart boasts a 1.71 GAA and .943 save percentage with two shutouts. This means Varlamov is letting in fewer goals, but Hart is making more saves. This is a tie for me; both goalies are really good. I guarantee that whoever loses this series won’t be blaming it on their goaltender.

Conclusion

This is a good and close series—two teams, who have similar talents, facing off in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. Neither team is hungrier than the other. May the best team win, and may the refs not be blind.

New York Islanders: The Two most Important Players to the Playoff Run

J.G. Pageau, New York Islanders

The New York Islanders are up 2-1 over the Florida Panthers for two reasons right now. These two players have shown how unstoppable they can be. They’ve demonstrated excellent skating, outstanding forechecking, the ability to get pucks on the net, and score. They aren’t the players you’re thinking of, though. It is not Jordan Eberle or Matt Martin. I’m talking about Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Anthony Beauvillier.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau

Jean-Gabriel Pageau has been the best player out of both teams in this series. He is by far the best deadline pick up by any team in the NHL. Pageau does so much more than just score. Pageau pesters the opposing team in the offensive/neutral zone and creates opportunities for other players. He also goes right into the slot even though he’s normally the smallest guy on the ice. Pageau is one of the only players on the Islanders that looks like he wants to score. Pageau also brings feisty energy to the hard-hitting Islanders team. Brian Boyle is around 8 inches taller than Pageau, yet Pageau was willing to laugh in his face and throw a fake punch. Pageau is the best player on the Islanders currently, and it could be that way for a long time.

Anthony Beauvillier

Anthony Beauvillier is the second fastest skater on the Islanders. I need to see him and Mat Barzal race. Nevermind that, but the way Beauvillier has progressed after the 4-month layoff is insane. Beauvillier used to be unreliable, and it looked like he would never reach his potential. Out of nowhere, Anthony Beauvillier explodes out and becomes one of the most impactful players on the ice. His forechecking and his chip and chase game is unmatched. Beauvillier also tries to get the puck on net more, and that only means that other players get to score off his rebounds. He’s the most dangerous player on the Islanders powerplay, which is either good or bad depending on how you look at it. Beauvillier has really come into his own during the playoffs.

Conclusion

If the Islanders didn’t have Beauvillier or Pageau, they wouldn’t be up in the series right now. Almost every impactful play has come from one of the two players. The Islanders should be thanking their stars for these players.

New York Islanders: 3 Key Performances from Saturday’s Win

Adam Pelech, New York Islanders

The New York Islanders beat the Florida Panthers 2-1 on Saturday in game 1 of the series. The Islanders looked very sharp and were enforcing their style of Hockey onto the opposing Panthers. There were three performances that stuck out to me in this hard-fought victory.

The New York Islanders’ Third Line

The third line was probably the best line on the ice yesterday. This line, anchored by Jean-Gabriel Pageau, created countless chances through their forechecking. Tom Kuhnhackl was putting in 110% effort into his forechecking, and this effort would set up the first goal of the game by Pageau, and assisted by Derick Brassard. This line played smart the entire game and didn’t try to get too fancy, got the pucks deep, and chased. The key to this series for the Islanders is to have their depth outplay the other team.

Anthony Beauvillier

The number of times I said, “Wow, Anthony Beauvillier is so good” yesterday is uncountable. Beauvillier seems like he’s the best player on the ice at all times. He’s insanely fast, strong on the puck, has a good wrist shot, and can read 2v1 situations like no other. Beauvillier’s powerplay goal was a great goal, as well. I’m just very impressed by the kid, he went from possibly not making the team to being one of the best on the team.

Adam Pelech

The New York Islanders don’t have a shot of winning without Adam Pelech. This is not an over-exaggeration or a knock against the other defenseman. Adam Pelech is the most impactful player the Islanders have. Pelech is not just impactful on the ice but off the ice as well. The culture change is with Pelech. I mean, there’s a whole fan group with more than 2,500 members about Pelech called the #PelechPosse created by BathtubJake. Besides that, Pelech played out of his mind yesterday, he literally bodyslammed a Panther. His play surprised no Islander fan but surprised every NHL fan.

Honorable Mention

Seymon Varlamov is my honorable mention for this list. Varlamov made 27 saves on 28 shots. Anytime a goalie only lets in one goal, you have to give credit to him. He didn’t make my list, though, due to the performances by the other three players. Also, the one goal he let in was not a goal that should’ve went in.

Conclusion

If the Islanders play like this every game, it’s an easy sweep. If the Islanders take game 2, you could be looking at another sweep. But, you can’t get ahead of yourself like that, take it one game at a time—game 1 to the Island.