Step back from the ledge Islander fans it’s all going to be ok. As a Wings fan, I have first-hand experience of the pain you feel losing a franchise #91 to free agency (I forgive you, Fedorov). I know it stings, but the Islanders are going to be better off without John Tavares.
Lou has a plan, Lou will execute his plan.
Short term, just know it’s going to be a tough season, but with Lou at the wheel don’t expect any panic signings. Lou has a plan, Lou will execute his plan. As he did in Toronto, Lou Lamoriello will get your beloved Islanders young quickly. The good news is that the process has already started. Mathew Barzal, or rather “Calder award-winning, Mathew Barzel”, the speedy human highlight reel should soften the blow of losing the face of your franchise.
OK, so you’ve got the reigning rookie of the year, complemented by former Oiler Jordan Eberle, Anders Lee and Josh Bailey. All three are “in their prime” forwards who can and will contribute. Sprinkle in some over-30 experience with Andrew Ladd, Cal Clutterbuck (one of the best names in the NHL btw), new signing Leo Komarov, Valtteri Flippula and you’ve got a solid group of forwards who can all produce.
Are you winning the cup this year with this group? NO, probably not. Let’s be honest you weren’t winning with that group plus Tavares either.
The Islanders pipeline is now fully stocked
The long-term projections are what should get the Islander faithful excited. The Islanders “won” this year’s draft, hands down. Selecting Noah Dobson AND Oliver Wahlstrom back-to-back at 11 and 12 was a coupe for the Islanders, both were projected to go much higher.
Dobson is a not too distant future 1D. He has the offensive prowess to quarterback a powerplay and is solid enough defensively to lead a penalty kill. Dobson was projected to go as high as 4th in the draft, a steal at 11.
Wahlstrom, rated as the best pure scorer in the entire draft shot up the pre-draft rankings and was projected to go in the top 5. The American can easily be counted on for 30+ goals a season. Another absolute steal at 12.
If nabbing those two studs wasn’t enough, they added a huge upside player with Bode Wilde in the second round. The best risky pick in the draft, Wilde has been compared to Scott Niedermeyer. Described as someone who “plays on the edge”. Gotta love a guy who “plays on the edge” and is named Bode!
The Islanders pipeline is now fully stocked. Dobson, Wahlstrom, Wilde now join forwards Keifer Bellows, Josh Ho-Sang, defensemen Devon Toews, Sebastian Aho (the other one) and future all-star goalie Linus Soderstrom, to form a remarkably solid high ceiling future for your franchise.
24-Million in cap space
The team has a solid core led by Barzal. Along with that, they have a loaded pool of young talent a year or two away, and now let’s add the third piece of this puzzle: cap space. Not blowing 11 million AAV on JT leaves you with ridiculous cap space. Current projections on Capfriendly.com show about 24-Million in cap space this year.
That cap space makes the Islanders rebuild a hell of a lot easier. The team sign can literally sign any free agent they want. They will have no issue resigning the core when the time comes, and Lou can be super aggressive at the trade deadline if he wants. The Isles have enough cap space to take on a bad contract or two in exchange for some young talent or additional picks for the 19 and 20 drafts. The cap space lets management (AKA Lou) have the dexterity to shape this team exactly how he wants.
Shhh quiet down, don’t let Toronto hear you
OK come closer, I have a secret. It’s the 4th piece of this puzzle of hope you are building. Tavares is over-rated. Shhh quiet down, don’t let Toronto hear you. Yeah, he is a great player, but at 77 Million for 7 years, that’s a pill that might be best left for someone else to swallow. 11 million a year, until he is 34, is rough. Let’s play a game.
- A Player – 8 years @ 8.5mil – 334 goals, 669 points, 664 GP, 88.8 Point Share
- B Player – 7 years @ 11mil – 272 goals, 621 points, 669 GP, 73.5 Point Share
- C Player – 8 years @ 8.27mil – 214 goals, 677 Points, 737 GP, 73.3 Point Share
- D Player – 8 Years @ 9.5mil – 254 goals, 596 points, 667 GP, 73.5 Point Share
Who would you take first? The answer is obvious, right? Player A that’s Steve Stamkos. The best value for money, who signed a pretty friendly deal with Tampa Bay last year. The remaining players Player B – Tavares, Player C – Giroux, and Player D – Jamie Benn, all have basically equal Point Share, and yet Tavares is making 2-3 more million a year.
What I’m saying here is, honestly, I don’t think he is worth the money. Yes, the cap went up this year, yes the timing was perfect for Tavares TO GET PAID, but it’s not a totally bad thing for Tavares to have someone other than the Islanders sign him.
He chose his boyhood team
The media dragged this story on for over a year, I get that it’s painful but he chose his boyhood team, and that’s that. Don’t let it get you down Long Island. This is the turning point. You have Lou to captain your ship. Your franchise is stocked with a wealth of riches (both in cap space and prospects). On top of all that you a have new stadium to look forward to. This is all a good thing. The days of Mr Snow and his bunch of merry idiots are behind you. And hey if the worst comes to worst, you get Jack Hughes as your consolation prize!
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This one is a classic.