It’s a little late, and many about 200 questions in Latest mail call It was old then Lane Lambert Like islanders“The new coach was last Monday, but there’s still enough to assemble an off-season mailbag before what could be crowded the next two months.
(Note: Some questions have been edited for clarity and length.)
Wahlstrom and Bellows seem to have gotten together quite often this season. Perhaps this is because they are both previous choices in the first round? But they are actually in different stages of their career. It’s important to remember that Bellows (who turns 24 on June 10) is a full two years older than Wallstrom (22 on June 13), and when it comes to young players and predicting career paths, that’s a huge difference.
We also don’t know if Lambert thinks of these two players differently than Barry Trotz did. Perhaps he will have a longer stint with the younger players than Trotz did. Or maybe he won’t.
With regards to Wahlstrom, there is little doubt that Islanders are still hopeful that he will develop into a real striker who will score goals among the top six. Lou Lamoriello said he wants to try to find more attacking punches in the off-season, and may be planning part of that coming from Wahlstrom. On the Today I shot TrotzLamoreello stated that the islanders should “improve the performance of our younger players”. However, Wahlstrom is still pretty raw and has some work ahead of him if he’s going to live up to his potential.
Bellows finished the season playing top hockey, so that was encouraging. I look at him as a third or fourth line wing in NHL level. In an ideal world, the islanders would share the death penalty for him as well, which isn’t something he’s done in his National Hockey League career. For a player like him to live in the NHL for the long term, he will have to develop parts of his game other than just his attack.
I can also see Bellows getting more involved in the hockey trade than Walstrom. Perhaps there was a team that put it on their radar before the 2016 draft and feels they can do more with their system than they were able to do with the islanders under Trotz.
Why haven’t the reactions of others – players, Trotz – reached the press yet (regarding the shooting)? Are you holding on to us? – Lowell K.
It’s all too typical for players to disappear once their last getaway day is over, which means they don’t have to worry about talking to the media until they get together again for training camp in September. I would dare to guess that they were asked to keep quiet about it anyway, since none of them posted anything on social media, either (at least not to my knowledge).
For Trotz, if he gets another job soon, the team he’s hiring will hold a regular press conference. He should be able to make his point about the breakup soon enough.
After this season, has the definition of key players changed, and if so, who is in/out of the roster? – Tom F.
That’s a good question and probably worth some discussion, because while Lamoreello and Trotz (before he was fired) both expressed faith in the core of the team, they didn’t provide anyone with a list of who they consider to be part of that core.
First, though, we have to understand what the definition of a primary player is. I would argue that someone who is almost certain not to be traded in the off-season, will be in the lineup on opening night and is at or near the height of his career.
Here are who I would say qualify as islanders: Anders LeeAnd Brooke NelsonAnd Matthew BarzalAnd Noah DobsonAnd Ryan BullockAnd Adam Bellick And Ilya Sorokin. Maybe you could make a case for some of the others, but I’ll stop at these seven.
Where does the organization stand? Anthony Bouvier? And what is its current value around the league? – Evan N.
I go back to what another league executive told me a couple of months ago, that almost every NHL team has a player like Beauvillier – someone who came into the NHL with high pedigree and showed flashes of high skill but couldn’t find the consistency to do that every night. “You just kind of wait for these guys to stand out. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t.
I would certainly include Bouvier as a player the Islanders could dangle in an off-season hockey deal, either for another more consistent winger or for a left-back who would need to pair up with Dobson.
Islanders fans are often frustrated with Bridgeport’s player development. Do you have any idea if this stems primarily from a lower class lead pool, AHL coaching staff, another factor, or just sports fans who do what they do best – finding something to complain about? – Jeffrey S.
I would suggest it’s the latter, because I believe every fan base in the league goes beyond their horizons while quickly forgetting the success stories that have established themselves in the league.
In fact, this is something that came up during my conversation with Craig Custance and Sean Gentile Sports hockey show Last week, when they asked me about Pete DeBoer, who had just been fired from Vegas Golden Nights (The ones I covered for over four years in San Jose.) When he was a coach for a team demonsDeBoer has often been criticized by the fan base for not giving youngsters enough opportunity. The same thing happened, at times, when he was in San Jose, especially when the team was struggling.
When you look at those players that fans wanted to see, though, none of them came to anything. DeBoer’s opinion on the matter was that if a young player was good enough he would eventually break through, no matter the circumstances, and it’s hard to argue.
The Islanders have only had a pick in one of the top 10 games in their past nine drafts – Michael Dale Cooley, fifth in 2014. He’s played 112 NHL games, more than enough to show if he’s good enough to land a full-time spot. He did not. This is not due to the training or development staff at Bridgeport.
Other players, like Ryan Pulock and Adam Pelech, have spent a lot of time at Bridgeport, and that seems to have helped their development. Bellows did too, and he still has the potential to do more. Robin Salo has made strides this season and could be in a position to challenge for a spot on the roster this fall.
Whether a player makes it to the NHL is always up to that same player.
Is there a team that you think will take over? Josh Bailey? Will the islands get anything in return or will they have to give up additional assets to get someone to take them? He’s still a solid midfield player. this is not Andrew Ladd continent. – Jonathan W.
I touched on what I think of Bailey in the last mailbag (there were questions after that, too, about whether the islanders should trade him). But I repeat that I have no doubt that there will be teams interested in him if he becomes available, even though his $5 million salary is a bit exaggerated. This decade has only two seasons left, which makes it even more palatable.
This year’s Stanley Cup playoffs so far have provided a reminder of how important a player like Bailey is, because when you look at teams like DallasAnd Edmonton And Calgary, in particular, all of them have deep problems in the foreground. Bailey is still a responsible two-way player and tends to up his game in the playoffs, which is a big reason I think there’s a very strong possibility that he’s wearing another outfit in the fall. And, no, it won’t just be a payroll dump. I think the islanders could get at least a valid player in return while making some space for a potential upscale free agent to help replace him.
Is ‘Lou’ on the hot seat next season? Does ownership allow him to rebuild if the team is underachievers again? – Christopher O.
There is no doubt that Lamoreello put the pressure on himself with Trotz shooting and some of his comments about what he will be trying to do in the off-season. He will now have to find another man of defense and a striker or two, or else the fans will surely be disappointed.
And while it was probably disappointing to some fans on the day Trotz fired it for Amoreello Did not provide a great explanationIt was more frank When Lambert’s promotion was announced. This despite being a delicate situation – after all, one of the reasons Trotz wasted time in January, giving Lambert a chance to take charge momentarily, was the death of his mother.
Any suggestion that Lamoreello is now on a hot seat would be pure speculation, but let’s be real here: The islanders are supposed to challenge for the Stanley Cup next season, and if they don’t, that ultimately falls into the lap of the General’s management. That this general manager turned 80 in October probably indicates that he is not the man overseeing the rebuilding either.
What is your reading on Aatu Raty? I know some fans are calling for him to make the big club next season, but given the ups and downs in his development and confidence so far, I think he’d be better off with a full year in AHL, which we hope he will be. “the man.” – Evan N.
me Books about Rati Soon after he joined Bridgeport, check out this piece if you haven’t already. Ole Jokinen seems pretty high on him, and Jokinen is clearly a guy who knows quite a bit about playing in the NHL. In eight games with Bridgeport, six of which were in the playoffs, Ratti had one goal and four points.
Whether Ratti has a chance to make his opening night menu will depend on what the islanders will do in the next few months, because if they have the kind of inconvenience they can possibly imagine, there really shouldn’t be any place for him. Usually a skilled striker like this plays in the top six to be effective. He is definitely not going to play in the fourth line.
So yeah, I tend to agree that he’d probably be better off spending an entire season in the AHL, maybe with a cup of coffee or two in the NHL if he’s playing well and there are injuries. Although it’s a good prospect at this point, he’s still not sure of something and needs to adapt to the smaller rink surface than he played on in Finland.
(Top photo by Josh Bailey: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)