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Islanders Gameday News: Cautiously optimistic; Trade speculation

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Also, the kiddies were called back up.

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at New York Islanders
Last time was fun. Let’s do it again, shall we?
Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

Damn, it’s been awhile since I’ve typed out “Islanders Gameday News.” Welcome back, gang. It’s gonna be a toughie. They host the Lightning on Coliseum ice tonight, and Tampa Bay is probably not happy after losing to the Penguins the other night.

Leave your FIGs here.

ALSO: Forgot to add this originally, I’m sorry, but a new Islanders Anxiety dropped yesterday. Arthur Staple joined Mike and Dan for some interesting tidbits. Give it a listen.

Islanders News

  • It’s time to shake off the rust and get back into game shape. February is gonna be a brutal month - let’s see how they respond. [Newsday]
  • Vacation time is over, but the Islanders still lead the division by three points with games in hand on their chasers. [Islanders]
  • The Islanders can actually improve their play from their extremely hot stretch since mid-December by fixing their dreadful power play and adding some depth, if they don’t go for the big Trade Deadline acquisition. [WFAN]
  • Islanders President and GM Lou Lamoriello is cautiously optimistic about his team’s chances this season, giving them credit for their play so far but wisely understanding they’ve still got a ways to go. He also states that he’d like to keep all of his pending UFAs beyond this season, and that a decision on a home arena come playoff time has not been made. [Newsday]
  • AHL All-Star Michael Dal Colle and former AHL All-Star Devon Toews were, thankfully, recalled back to the Isles yesterday. Also, it appears forward John Stevens is ready to step on the ice for the first time this season. [Soundin’ Off | CT Post on Dal Colle | CT Post on Stevens]
  • VIDEO: Anders Lee sat down with Kathryn Tappen in the latest episode of Off the Ice to discuss his time as a student athlete - and meeting his wife - at Notre Dame. [NBC Sports]

Elsewhere

Last night’s NHL scores include the Blue Jackets losing in regulation again, to the Wild. I wonder if this accelerates any trades of their stars, if the distraction is becoming too great.

  • Aaron Portzline, The Athletic’s resident Columbus writer, mentions destinations for Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky as pure rentals, and mentions potential places they’d sign long-term. While Portzline still believes the Rangers are his most likely landing spot in the offseason, Panarin and his camp “revere” Lamoriello, so... *big eyes emoji* (full quote below) [The Athletic]

“If Panarin makes it to free agency July 1, I still believe the New York Rangers are the most likely destination. Panarin’s camp is said to revere Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello, and the Islanders have remained competitive this season despite the loss of John Tavares.”

  • A name that some have brought up and that I would love to have on the Island, if he’s available, is Blues center Brayden Schenn. Right now, he’s a classic buy-low candidate. Between that and St. Louis climbing back into the playoff race, I’m not so sure they actually do end up trading him (he wouldn’t be a pure rental as he has another year on his deal after this one). [TSN]
  • There was a minor trade the other day between the Devils and Wild - New Jersey received defenseman Ryan Murphy, and Minnesota got defenseman Michael Kapla. [Hockey Wilderness]
  • The headline of this article is “Teams are actually scouting Jay Bouwmeester,” which should tell you everything you need to know about how Blues fans feel about Jay Bouwmeester. [St. Louis Game Time]
  • Follow Stars GM Jim Nill’s descent from top dog to the hot seat. Remember how smart he seemed back in 2016? Reminds me of how we all felt after the offseason of 2014, a.k.a. the Summer of Garth. [Defending Big D]
  • VIDEO: The NHL Now crew lists the Top 10 Active Players in the NHL to play for one team only, and you can honestly guess the list without watching if you wanted to try. [NHL]
  • Here’s a list of five players who are in the running for the way-too-close-to-call NWHL MVP race, including Riveters’ winger Amanda Kessel. [The Ice Garden]
  • Kendall Coyne Schofield reacted to the Pierre McGuire controversy by stating that she understands where that perception came from and that she’d react similarly if she didn’t know McGuire, but she does know him well, and said his excitement got the best of him. She also acknowledges that while great strides are being made, there’s still a bit of work to be done. [The Athletic]