Islanders
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The Islanders Retained Some Key Free Agents, And A Pretty Good Veteran As Well

Islanders fans have had a quiet summer, to say the least. After shedding salary at the beginning of the offseason, there was complete silence for months. Many expected Lou Lamoriello to go big after falling short against the Tampa Bay Lightning for the second straight season. Fans grew concerned as the departures of Nick Leddy and Jordan Eberle left some holes in the lineup. However, those holes are starting to get filled. The team announced extensions for four key players. Anthony Beauvillier, Casey Cizikas, Kyle Palmieri, and Ilya Sorokin were all signed to long-term deals.

While all four were important in their own respect, Cizikas is arguably the biggest triumph. He returned on a 6-year, $15 million contract, which is a more than friendly hometown discount. With reports that the Seattle Kraken was offering Cizikas a $5 million yearly salary, an AAV of $2.5 million is a steal. Barry Trotz is able to keep his “identity line” together as the team’s window of contending remains wide open. Along with the 4 incumbents, there was another player who’s set to head to the Island.

A Zach Attack

Longtime veteran Zach Parise has also reportedly agreed to terms with the Islanders. This is hardly a surprise, as it seemed a matter of when rather than if. The former Devils’ captain has a great relationship with Lou Lamoriello, as it seemed from the jump that the Isles were the only true suitor for him. He adds an incredible veteran presence and much-needed depth in the middle-six. It only seemed right for the former Wild player to join the Islanders upon his contract buyout.

His late father, J.P. Parise, scored a famous overtime goal for the Islanders in 1975. The upset over the Rangers in the first round was a sign of things to come for the team. Less than a decade later, the Isles solidified themselves as one of the greatest dynasties in sports with 4 consecutive Stanley Cups from 1980-1983. In brief, Parise and the Islanders are a great fit. With Andres Lee returning from injury, this lineup packs even more of a punch than last year’s squad.

This team has improved offensively, no two ways about it. However, there may still be more to come. Lamoriello hasn’t found a true replacement for Leddy and could use some more high-end scoring talent. Vladimir Tarasenko is still on the trade block with a declining trade value. Could Lou take a chance on an injury-plagued star? They could also use one more left-handed defenseman. Adam Pelech is a defensive stud, but Andy Greene is not good enough for Top-4 minutes. The following is nothing more than a pipe dream from me. Ready?

Bear With Me Here

The Buffalo Sabres have arguably sunk to even lower depths. They have completely botched the Jack Eichel trade and stripped their roster of any quality talent. With the team in a contract standoff against RFA defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, it would be wonderful if Lou waved his magic wand here. He still has a first-round pick after giving other assets to the Arizona Coyotes for Andrew Ladd’s contract. There are also salary fillers like Leo Komarov and Thomas Hickey. Even parting ways with a guy like Josh Bailey could be considered. If the Islanders somehow got ahold of Tarasenko AND Dahlin, this team would be legit. They punched above their weight the past two seasons but this roster would be an unquestionable contender in the Eastern Conference. 99% impossible crazy hockey fantasy over.

The Islanders made some great moves today. Locking up important guys on helpful deals and adding Zach Parise gets a big thumbs up. Even more additions could possibly be on the way. They are just about out of cap space but Lou Lamoriello is as savvy as they come. Let’s cross our fingers and wait for time to tell.

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