The new era in Islanders history that began today with a whimper. The Islanders are not a better team today, but they are not as bad as some will think. They replaced Kyle Okposo, Frans Nielson, and Matt Martin with Andrew Ladd and Jason Chimera. For a off season that has provided many changes to this organization they may not be that different on the ice. In today’s age of polarizing opinions, the Islanders had an okay day.
Starting with the positives, the Andrew Ladd contract is a good one. In the cap world, front loading the contract along with only a limited no trade at the end of his deal, will give them enough flexibility at the end of his deal. Playing on the wing with Tavares, the Isles will be expecting him to at least match he recent trend of 25 goal seasons. The biggest issue with this signing is, it feels like Ladd should have been an addition instead of a replacement. He will not be good enough to carry this team despite its short comings. Coming into the offseason the biggest need for the Islanders were top six forwards. It was nice to see them add one but losing two (Okposo and Nielson) is not a trade you would want to make.
The other move the Islanders made was signing Jason Chimera. This was a fairly low risk two year deal. Chimera will replace Martin on the line with Cizikas and Clutterbuck. While Chimera will not provide the physicality that Martin did, he did score 20 goals last season. The Isles are trading physicality and personality for scoring and flexibility.
Unless you are of the opinion that Jiri Hurdler or Brad Richards are game changers, the only way to make this team better will be through the trade market. That would involve giving up some of the young talent that the Isles have accumulated over the years. The Isles are at the point where this is a serious option. There are very few players on this roster that should prohibit them from making a trade. As far as forwards go outside of Tavares there is no other forward that should prevent the Islanders from adding a top six forward.
It is tough to give an incomplete on what feels like the last important day of the offseason but that may be the most fair grade. It will take something that nobody is expecting to make this offseason a success but it’s hard to call it a failure. The new era has begun with a whimper and may not be the new era many of us were expecting.