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Five for Five: Desperate Times, Desperate Measures

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New for the 2019-20 season for Isles Blog, our Rob Taub each Monday will give you his thoughts on five important things to key on for that week’s games for the New York Islanders.

With a week left until the NHL Trade Deadline, the Islanders are showing their desperation.

Yesterday, g.m. Lou Lamoriello finally made a move to get his team some help they’ve needed for a long time. The Isles acquired veteran D-man Andy Greene from the New Jersey Devils for a 2021 second-round pick and 21-year-old prospect David Quenneville.

It was Lamoriello’s first move since July 3, 2018, when he re-acquired fourth-liner Matt Martin from Toronto.

“Andy brings a solid veteran presence into the lineup — he plays in all situations,” Lamoriello told reporters yesterday. “I know him well, being with him for several years, and I know how he’ll fit into the room without question. We’re delighted he’s an Islander.”

The Greene acquisition was an important one for the Isles. It proves that Lamoriello is willing to add and plug those holes that need fixing. It also proves they are looking to win now as opposed to keep building for the future.

Questions still remain as to whether now Lamoriello will trade for a forward. His current group is missing forwards Cal Clutterbuck and Casey Cizikas. He also just watched his club go two games without producing a goal and be outscored 6-0. Those situations, and that the Isles play four times in the next six nights, might finally determine what Lamoriello could do next.

Speaking of those four games, two of them are left out West with the hope that the Islanders can salvage what has been a forgettable trip so far. The others will be against bad teams in Detroit (John Tonelli’s jersey being retired) and San Jose (the night before the deadline). Those last two should provide some extra juice inside the Coliseum.

A week of this magnitude, there are definitely things that will play a factor where the Islanders will stand at this time next week. Here’s a few to been observant of:

Hello Andy.

Greene surely will be in the lineup for the Islanders this afternoon in Arizona and should provide a bit of reprieve for a few of the veterans who are battling the past month. How head coach Barry Trotz inserts the 37-year-old into certain situations could be a preview of what his role on this team will be moving forward. Greene is capable of big minutes and is an astute penalty killer, two areas where the Islanders have needed assistance for awhile.

The Mathew Barzal show.

Barzal might have played the most complete game of his entire career in Saturday night’s loss in Vegas. He didn’t record any points, but there wasn’t a forward probably from either team that was all over the ice the entire night. With how important this week could impact the team’s plan moving forward, it wouldn’t be a surprise if #13 repeats that fantastic performance. The offense going cold could also force Barzal to try and take matters into his own hands, which could either be good or bad if you’ve watched him all season.

Receiving Trotz’s message.

Trotz sent shockwaves among the fans after Saturday’s defeat when he revealed to MSG’s Shannon Hogan that he was going to “rattle the lineup a little bit”. What that means we won’t know until the Isles take the ice today. But it should a warning to all the players in that locker room, who in the past have played with more fire when Trotz has challenged them.

Goaltending answering the call.

Besides Semyon Varlamov’s ridiculous showing Saturday, the goaltending has been spotty for the Isles for a while now. Varlamov and Greiss have struggled individually and as a tandem; Greiss was chased from the goal in Nashville after allowing three goals on eight shots. Neither are also taking that brass ring as the solidified number one in between the pipes. Something’s got to give these next few games. The Isles still find themselves in a playoff spot, but as the postseason continues to draw closer, stabilizing the goaltender situation will be one less headache for the coaching staff to worry about.

Taking advantage of lesser competition. 

The Islanders need every point possible right now, so when they face Detroit and San Jose, they need to take care of business and don’t look back. Struggling with bad teams has been a theme this year for them. They need to shake that narrative and not overlook their opponents. Anything but four points this weekend will be a massive disappointment.

Follow me on Twitter @RTaub_

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