The New York Islanders’ 2022-23 preseason is in the books, with an ugly beginning followed by a satisfying finish under new coach Lane Lambert. Preseason is famously non-predictive of future success, but when we’re dealing with a new coach, we take what scraps we can get to fuel our hopes/anxieties for the new year.
Does it matter that the Islanders two 4-1 losses were in the beginning, and their four preseason wins came as a more “opening night” kind of roster took shape?
[Insert your preferred ::shrug:: emoji here]
- Hopeful side: Maybe Lambert’s looser reins unlocks Mathew Barzal’s peak potential, and maybe a guy like Robin Salo excels instead of gets buried in Bridgeport.
- Skeptical side: It’s largely the same lineup, and any deviation from the Trotzian norm of recent years could expose one of the goaltenders, if not both.
When the Islanders fired/”relieved” Barry Trotz and promoted Lambert in a week’s time this summer, I was in the “don’t know until we see it” camp. I remain there. But the season is near, so the data points that matter are just around the corner.
So...what say you? Looking on the bright side? Anticipating six months of dread? Do tell.
- Andrew Gross and Colin Stephenson preview the season at Newsday. [Island Ice podcast]
- They might face more odd-man rushes, but the Islanders are confident Ilya Sorokin and Semyon Varlamov give them a leg up. [Newsday]
- ICYMI: Alex Romanov was fined the max $5,000 for charging Vincent Trochek. [TSN]
- We have a trade to announce: The Blues and Oilers swap disappointing 2017 draft pick forward/defenseman prospects, respectively. [TSN | Sportsnet]
- The cap-strapped Toronto Maple Leafs, who are trying to free themselves of their “grit shall get you over the hump” Wayne Simmonds contract, have signed PTO Zach Aston-Reese. [NHL]
- Lots of players hit waivers Sunday, including Simmonds, Boston’s Mike Reilly and Nick Foligno, and one-time super fantastic NCAA free agent score Will Butcher (Dallas), [TSN]
- Fellow D-bag team the Rangers have signed fellow PTO Jimmy Vesey to some sort of employment contract. [NHL]
- Ian Cole of the Lightning is the subject of a very detailed sexual assault and grooming allegation, and is suspended with pay while the league and team investigates. [Raw Charge]