““The most important thing is to look at who is in the organization, and what they bring. And it not being about them. For a team to have success, the players have to give up their own identity to have success.”
That was the message ushered by Lou Lamoriello when he was named Islanders President of Hockey Operations a week ago.
If you’ve watched the Isles over the past few seasons, you would easily spot that this type of mentality has lacked amongst some of the players who don the Isles crest. But that is going to have to change if the Islanders finally want to regain respectability and become a winning franchise they once were. No player or personnel decisions have been made in Lamoriello’s brief stint at the helm of the organization, but that is expected to change very soon.
There are a few names that I believe will now feel the most to lose or gain with Lou overseeing all the hockey decisions to be made for the franchise.
1. Josh Ho-Sang
The one name that has been talked about the most, and will continue to gain traction, is prospect Josh Ho-Sang.
It’s been well-documented over the past two years the love-hate relationship between the player and the organization. GM Garth Snow has preached accountability in regards to the 22-year old, but let his guard down, letting unproductive veterans continue to get a pass while watching his team falter. Now with Lamoriello’s no-nonsense disposition being injected into the organization, Ho-Sang will now have his chance to show that he’s a key piece to the Isles future.
No longer can Ho-Sang’s maturity come in to question anymore, neither can his cry for others to be held to the same standards as him. If Ho-Sang can’t buy into the new attitude the club has, he will be long gone.
2. Thomas Greiss
There’s no question that with the Islanders bringing in Lamoriello, Thomas Greiss could be heavily affected.
Greiss, who signed a new contract in January of 2017, is not a number one goaltender and had statistically the worst year of his career in 2017-18. With the Islanders still searching for a number one goalie for years, Greiss’s value if not almost all gone will continue to deteriorate unless he’s able to reinvigorate his career this summer and in training camp. Lamoriello is known to be able to find diamonds in the ruff between the pipes, and he will definitely find a way to get the Isles the starter they so desperately warrant.
Add a few other goalie prospects highly-regarded in the organization, and things look bleaker for Greiss for the near future. The Big German will definitely have to be watching his back more often now with Lou around.
3. Brock Nelson
Next to Ho-Sang, there is not a more enigmatic player — Brock Nelson — that hopefully Lamoriello can finally get through to so he can live up to expectations.
Nelson was drafted to be a goal scorer and big able-bodied forward. Now while the Isles have received the initial more than the latter in his stint with the team, Nelson has continued to show he can go invisible for a matter of days that leads into weeks, and that he is still irresponsible and soft defensively. There’s no way Lou Lamoriello will continue to let a player of Nelson’s talent get by with what he does. Like he said in the quote, to have success, you need players to sacrifice their identity. That quote should be directly pointed at Nelson.
Even though he is liked within the organization, Nelson is one of those guys that will need to change his ways if he wants to be a part of a Lamoriello run team. Otherwise, he won’t be around for the long run.
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