To say newly-minted New York Islanders president and basic supervisor Lou Lamoriello has had an fascinating begin to his tenure can be greater than an understatement.

He’s actually made a big impact on the franchise that employed him to take full management of hockey operations six-plus weeks in the past, nevertheless it’s not fairly the one many across the hockey world anticipated — nor what the one followers on The Island had been hoping for.

It was fairly clear by the timing of the Lou’s hiring that re-signing John Tavares and guaranteeing New York’s captain caught round for the long term was precedence No. 1, with the manager brass banking that the veteran govt’s shrewd negotiating fashion and profitable status would make JT consider within the path the membership was heading.

That wasn’t sufficient to maintain Tavares in an Islanders uniform, although. And with the departure of their franchise cornerstone introduced a fast shift in philosophy and a hope that Lamoriello’s infamous confidence and sureness in his path — the one he confirmed on a close to fixed foundation in New Jersey and Toronto — would convey a constructive offseason of change and place the group on the appropriate path to post-JT restoration.

That expectation is a legitimate one given his monitor document, however virtually each one in every of Lamoriello’s signings this low season have been questionable for a myriad of causes, whereas placing the staff’s future in an much more precarious state of affairs than it was already beneath Garth Snow.

His newest and strangest transfer got here on Monday when Ross Johnston — a 24-year-old winger with six profession NHL factors — was gifted a four-year contract extension. The AAV has not but been confirmed and it possible received’t break the financial institution salary-wise, however my goodness that’s a boat-load of time period for a man who 90 % of the hockey world needed to Google when information of the signing broke.

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As you may see, Johnston by no means posted greater than 18 objectives or 32 factors at any stage of junior and has simply 26 factors in 100 AHL video games. He was handed an extension with extra years on it than he has objectives within the NHL which is uncommon as hell, to place it flippantly. Even when we assume he makes the league minimal till the main points come out, why on earth would Lou simply toss 4 years at him for completely no motive? Who was he bidding in opposition to? What leverage does Johnston have that Lamoriello felt completely satisfied that handing a participant with little-to-know offensive upside a long-term deal can be clever on this present NHL panorama?

I’ve no solutions. I, like many, am simply very confused.

As bizarre as Monday’s signing was, it shouldn’t show to be detrimental to the staff’s long-term possibilities. There are a number of different latest strikes which can be caring for that simply tremendous on their very own.

The Leo Komarov deal really has the potential to go down as one in every of the worst in latest reminiscence. And what makes it a lot extra egregious is that Lamoriello sat in a press field excessive above the ACC ice in Toronto and watched Komarov swimsuit up sport after sport after sport, for 3 seasons, and nonetheless thought it will be a good suggestion to signal the barely-NHL-level ahead to a four-year deal at $three million per season.

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That form of time period and {dollars} is totally ludicrous for a slow-footed, 31-year-old coming off a season which he tallied a grand whole of 19 factors. Komarov has by no means tallied greater than 36 factors in a single marketing campaign and, for the higher a part of the final two seasons, has regarded like a fringe NHLer at finest.

It’s lots of dough to shell out over a protracted time frame for a (barely) above-average penalty killer.

One other former Maple Leaf will probably be becoming a member of Uncle Leo on Lengthy Island after the staff acquired Matt Martin and his $2.5-million cap hit from Toronto in change for a goaltending prospect final month, whereas forwards Valtteri Filppula ($2.75 million), Jan Kovar ($2 million), and Tom Kuhnhackl ($700Okay) all climbed aboard with one-year offers beneath Lou’s watch.

Matt Martin returns to the Islanders after being acquired in a commerce with the Toronto. (Getty)

All in all, the 5 additions of Kovar, Komarov, Martin, Filppula  and Kuhnhackl — with the latter 4 combining for a mean of simply 18 NHL factors in 2017-18 — will eat over $10 million in cap area subsequent 12 months. With the staff hovering well-below the cap ceiling heading right into a re-tooling 12 months for the group, a few of these signings received’t destroy the franchise in the long term, however a number of of them add to what was an already unenviable state of affairs for the staff down the highway.

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The Islanders at present have a core group of 11 gamers — Andrew Ladd, Josh Bailey, Cal Clutterbuck, Johnston, Casey Cizikas, Komarov, Johnny Boychuk, Thomas Hickey, Nick Leddy, Adam Pelech and Scott Mayfield — locked up by way of 2021 at a cap hit of $33.45 million, which will probably be within the vary of 35-40 % of the cap ceiling if estimates maintain. That isn’t a reasonably image, to say the least.

It’s not ALL doom and gloom on the Island, although, with a Stanley Cup-winning coach now behind the bench and a few good younger items, together with Matt Barzal, wanting destined for stardom. High prospects like Josh Ho-Sang, Kieffer Bellows and Ilya Sorokin all have an opportunity to become strong NHLers, too, and let’s not overlook the A-plus draft the staff put collectively this 12 months when Oliver Wahlstrom and Noah Dobson fell into their lap at Nos. 11 and 12, respectively.

With the upcoming crop of expertise and a brand new area on the horizon, issues have an opportunity to look good for the staff in four-to-five years, however it might be a rocky highway till then — particularly of Lou retains up with the more-than-questionable participant signings which have outlined the early phases of his tenure.

Lamoriello is unquestionably nonetheless sharp as a tack on the subject of working and operating a membership from the highest down, however have the intricacies and nuances of the on-ice panorama and strategies of figuring out and creating expertise within the new NHL lastly handed him by?

It’s starting to appear to be it.

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