Islanders face the daunting task of rebuilding aging rosters

As the islanders sink deeper into their time of despair (victory on Saturday That being said, Lou Lamoriello must face the cold reality that the team he built to win now, which is spectacularly failing in fulfilling that mandate, includes 11 players aged 30 and over, seven of whom are on contract have that go beyond this year.

Cal Clutterbuck, Zach Parise, Andy Greene and Zdeno Chara are upcoming free agents and could close on May 21. But Semyon Varlamov has another year with a $5 million cap ahead of him, while Josh Bailey has two years with $5 million -dollars apiece and Matt Martin has two years left on his $1.5 million apiece deal.

Brock Nelson has three years left at $6 million a year, while Kyle Palmieri also has three years at $5 million a year. Anders Lee has four years to finalize his $7 million-a-year deal. And Casey Cizikas’ contract is for five years and costs $2.5 million a year.

There are younger plays including Mathew Barzal, Ilya Sorokin, Adam Pelech and Noah Dobson that form part of the core, but it will be a challenge for Lamoriello and the Islanders to better rebuild all those senior contract commitments.

Of course, COVID-19 took its toll on the islanders and potentially caused longer term effects than those brought to our attention for those infected. That cannot be quantified. Beyond that, however, it’s extremely difficult to survive an 82-game season that’s largely seen as a showcase of skill in the league.

Lou Lamoriello
Lou Lamoriello
Getty Images
Brock Nelson celebrates after scoring against the Blues on Saturday.
Brock Nelson celebrates after scoring against the Blues on Saturday.

Two years ago, before the first run into the semifinals, the season was halted on 68 points and, lest anyone forget, the Islanders gasped at the break as they went on a seven-game losing streak (0-3-4) although they had won two of their last 13 games (2-7-4). Chances are they would not have qualified for the playoffs if the season had continued without a break.

Last year, the schedule was reduced to 56 games, which fitted perfectly with Lamoriello’s and head coach Barrydios’ preferred style.

The islanders took advantage of their circumstances. First in the bubble two years ago when they made it in Game 6 against Lightning. And then it was a third-half goal on the other way to reaching the Stanley Cup Finals last season against Montreal. They came so close to closing out the Colosseum with a fifth championship.

But that moment is a thing of the past, as are the strictest CDC guidelines. There is a lot of age on the island and not enough speed. More skill needs to be added to the impressive will of the club, who either want or can do a lot this inaugural season at Belmont. And it probably won’t be easy.

I guess I kind of understand why Rangers stuck with Alexandar Georgiev as insurance in case anything happened to Igor Shesterkin and now I’m going to wash my mouth with soap for suggesting such a thing in the first place.

But Georgiev’s save percentage has been below .900 in 18 of his 36 starts over the past two seasons, nine of 18 in each year. If Shesterkin went down the jig would be up anyway. Do you think the 1999 Sabers would have gone into the cup final with Dwayne Roloson replacing Dominik Hasek?

Alexander Georgiev
Alexander Georgiev

So if there really is a market for Georgiev expected to get at least one start in Rangers’ four-game journey, maybe even Sunday in Winnipeg, President-General Manager Chris Drury should take advantage of it and jump on it .

There’s no throwback at all to the Devils’ decision to pick Nico Hischier as overall winner in 2017 when the popular alternate was Nolan Patrick?

fiasco averted.

Yes, Cale Makar, and yes, Miro Heiskanen, the defenders who would go 1-2 instead of 3-4 on a re-draft.

But Hischier, who showed brilliance night after night, would likely finish third in a do-over as the first striker ahead of Elias Pettersson. Who would go next, maybe Robert Thomas or Drake Batherson?

Nico Hischier
Nico Hischier
USA TODAY sports

Only health has stopped the 23-year-old Devils captain from gaining widespread recognition as the Swiss has been in just 75.2 percent of New Jersey’s games since his sophomore season in 2018-19 after repeated trips to injured reserve with a myriad of issues has played.

If he is healthy, as he is now, while scoring eight goals in his last 10 competitions, Hischier is an elite talent left as one of the brightest parting gifts from former general manager Ray Shero’s regime.

Not only did the Habs go into the match on Saturday night in Edmonton 6-1 from the last seven, but they also had victories against heavyweights Calgary, Toronto and St. Louis in the mix.

But did Executive Vice President Jeff Gorton and the entire Montreal hierarchy expect that the presence of Martin St. Louis behind the bench would put Canadians out of the top spot to enter the lottery, leaving them potentially only with the third-or fourth-best odds? to presumably snag Shane Wright?

Before Saturday’s game, the Canadians were 31st overall, a point ahead of Arizona but only four points behind Seattle and even just seven behind Philadelphia, and what do owners and management think of that?

After all, the thought that Alex Ovechkin could right now overtake Jaromir Jagr for third place on the NHL all-time scorer list is blasphemous.

The Great Jagr, with a career tally of 766 goals, is the man who always wore the number 68 in honor of the Prague Spring, which ended with the Soviet Union invading Czechoslovakia. Now, as the owner and player of Kladno from the Czech Extraliga, he has moved the club’s final home game of the regular season to an arena with triple the capacity of the club’s home stadium, with ticket proceeds going to Ukrainian families seeking refuge in the Czech Republic after the Russian invasion of their country.

Ovechkin, on the other hand, is the man who proudly poses with Vladimir Putin for his Instagram avatar with 763 goals. Even now.

These fans who continue to wear Ovechkin’s shirt, these people who chant his name after he scores a goal, what message do you think they are sending to the world? Your ignorance will be noted. Your behavior is disgusting. Islanders face the daunting task of rebuilding aging rosters


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