Lou Lamoriello mother on Islanders Matthew Barzal talks

A few days before the islanders officially opened training camp on Monday afternoon, it brought the rarest of sights: Lou Lamoriello speaking publicly without suits, on a verandah with a picturesque golf course providing a backdrop. Is.

“When I stop getting excited, I’ll know it’s time,” said Lamorillo, donning a polo shirt and zip-up jacket that qualified as downright casual for the Islanders’ general manager. . “That’s the feeling. It’s the most exciting time to get ready.”

A month after turning 80 and in the midst of an avalanche of criticism and questions, Lamoriello is still upbeat, and in every way as optimistic as you’d expect. As for the criticism, Lamoriello joked that his granddaughter once kicked him out for three weeks for not re-signing a player. He is content to deal with it.

Regarding the player he needs to re-sign at some point before this time next year, Matthew Barzal, Lamoriello declined to provide details on talks, but about the star center being around for the foreseeable future. asked, “I don’t want to say this is a silly question, but without question. Let’s be honest.”

For now, though, the islanders arrive at training camp with very few question marks about the makeup of its roster and much more about what it can do.

Skates New York Islanders Center Matthew Barzal (13)
Matthew Barzal’s contract runs out after the 2022–23 season.
Corey Sipkin

There is a belief within the organization that last season’s shipwrecked maiden voyage to the UBS Arena would prove to be an anomaly due to the circumstance. A typical 2022-23, the argument goes, should bring it into contention with itself.

Captain Anders Lee said it was no surprise to see a healthy majority in last year’s roster, with defenseman Alexander Romanov the only major addition.

“I don’t think it was the group — collectively, we didn’t put it together last year,” Lee said. “I don’t think it was a personnel issue. We had a lot going on that stopped us from performing the way we needed to and we pretty much had to go through a hole.”

Primarily, last year’s refrain is about being in the rearview mirror. Lee admitted, however, that he was surprised by the departure of Barry Trotz, who was replaced as head coach by Len Lambert. It’s hard to say right now how this will change the way the islanders play, but it’s unlikely to result in a wholesale philosophical change. Lambert was, after all, the chief assistant in Trotz’s staff for the duration of his time on Long Island.

“I think it’s really cool to have that familiarity right off the bat,” Lee said. “We’ve played for all lanes and he knows our group. He’ll be able to get us what he needs. We’ll know where he’s coming from from the start.”

Although the islanders have likely been on ice since last Thursday, the veterans will not report physically until Wednesday, and they will begin camping in earnest the next day. Of the group working with AHL Bridgeport coach Brent Thompson, it is likely that only three – Robin Sallow, Dennis Cholovsky and Grant Hutton – have a realistic shot at the NHL roster, with Sebastian Aho in sixth and seventh defenseman spots. is also competing for. to be mixed

Lamoriello said the three rookies were not obliged to show up at camp, doing so of their own accord.

lo lamoriello
lo lamoriello
NHLI via Getty Images

“They wanted to make a start, get in the best shape possible,” Lamoriello said. “It’s a good indication of how serious they are.”

However, the Islanders have set up most of their roster well enough that Lamorillo did not feel the need to bring in any players on tryout contracts, as they would not have had much of a chance to make the team. Top prospects Aatu Ratty and William Dufour, he said, are unlikely to be ready for the NHL at this point.

It doesn’t take any readings between the lines to see if the islanders are quite satisfied with their roster.

“We’re very comfortable with the group we have, I’ve said this [all] Together,” Lamoriello said. “Surely everyone was waiting for something to happen [in free agency]But you don’t do anything until you can get better. Potentially you have to subtract whenever you add. And right now, we’re in a good position with our hat on, with our group. I’m very comfortable with what anyone can think of.”

Even in this most casual setting, that message remained consistent.

“Remember,” said Lamoriello, “we are in this to win.”

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