First off, folks, I apologize for not posting a Trade Deadline thread. That one is on me. Something came up at the last minute this morning, and my day has been in somewhat of a tailspin ever since.
Okay, now, the New York Islanders did what most of us expected to do: make no trades. However, they did complete a couple of transactions, as GM and President Lou Lamoriello announced at his presser this afternoon. Both Cal Clutterbuck and Zach Parise will not reach free agency this summer. Kevin Weekes, the new Scoops King, had it first.
**Breaking News** @NYIslanders sign Parise & Clutterbuck to extensions. @espn @NHLNetwork @TSNHockey #HockeyTwitter— Kevin Weekes (@KevinWeekes) March 21, 2022
Clutterbuck received two years, and Parise received one year. In typical Islanders fashion, they did not announce the money involved, but we do know the terms of Clutterbuck’s extension, and they’re pretty good for the team;
we await more information about Parise’s Parise gets the same deal he had this year.
Clutterbuck 2x$1.75M in NYI— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) March 21, 2022
Parise cap hit is $750,000, it's the exact same deal— Mollie Walker (@MollieeWalkerr) March 21, 2022
Lou also mentioned that Andy Greene and Zdeno Chara wanted to see this season through with one team, and he said that Semyon Varlamov received a lot of attention; Clutterbuck did, too. But he was only trading players in hockey deals that meaningfully improved the current roster. To translate, basically better players with term, preferably on affordable contracts, not late-round picks or B- or C-level prospects.
These signings reaffirm what we have heard and suspected about how the Islanders organization: They see this year as a fluke. In fact, Lou even announced that.
Lou: To fans, this is an indication that we still believe in this group.— Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) March 21, 2022
Unlike many of our commentariat and those on Twitter (and other casual observers who know very little about how the Islanders operate but know a lot about how to get some temporary clout), that’s where I am, too, and I think this past month of games has been evidence of that. Now that the season has normalized, the Islanders are back to (mostly) playing Islanders hockey. Yes, ideally if you have a good team, it can withstand everything thrown at the Islanders this season and still make the playoffs.
But—and indulge me in a lawyerly moment of torturing language—I don’t think this team is built to be “good” in that way. It is built to win in the playoffs, plain and simple. It is built to get into the playoffs as any seed and then play playoff-style hockey in front of strong goaltending. And frankly, for a team that is built like the Islanders are right now, that will be their best shot.
That may sound like a poor way to plan, but it obviously worked to pretty good success over the last two seasons—they were basically a game away from winning a Stanley Cup last season because if they won Game 7 in Tampa, they absolutely would have beaten the Habs—and I think that the current group has earned another crack at it. Moreover, they are sort of stuck with this group anyway based on some of the contracts on their books. Selling off pieces just for late-round picks with no real replacement incoming would have made competing next year difficult.
I think that if they’re in the same position this time next year at the Trade Deadline, then it would be time to tear it down and start over. But I have a funny feeling that they won’t be.