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Islanders News: There’s ‘no disappointment” in RFA extensions being the news

In announcing the Dobson, Romanov and Bellows deals, Lou faces the media and they take their quote-bites.

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2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Round 2-7
“Welcome! Don’t tell a single soul you’re here until I say so.” #cleanshavemorale
Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

With the desired but elusive UFA ticket off the table, Lou Lamoriello saw fit to disclose three restricted free agent re-signings, along with media availability for the whole lot, to kick off this late August week.

Noah Dobson, Alex Romanov and Kieffer Bellows each got completely reasonable extensions, with no funny cap high-jinks and no big bets either way. Dobson and Romanov (three years each) will have the chance to build their value before their next (still restricted) free agency, while Bellows (one-year deal) will aim to earn a regular spot in the lineup before his next number comes.

The regular media know by this point not to ask about names who got away (Nazem Kadri, Johnny Gaudreau), but the questions asked of Lou Lamoriello, and perhaps his own prep ahead of time, did lead to at least some elaboration on his offseason strategy.

Yes, it’s absolutely another sequel to the tried-and-true Garth/Lou “always looking to make our team betta” answer, but between the lines you could read Lou acknowledging that they aimed for more “hockey trades” (like the Romanov acquisition) and considered free agents but simply didn’t like the net gain/loss:

They “looked at many different options, but the [hockey trade] options” would “not have gotten in return what we had to give up to make it a better team.” Ultimately, “it’s timing...[with 32 teams trying to get better] the sets of circumstances change, when you get an opportunity for whatever reason, you have to take advantage and be willing to make that decision...but you have to be careful,” etc.

Anyway, he likes the group! You knew he’d say that. Watch the full bit here, and react as you will:

Lamoriello was also asked whether they had considered going longer with Dobson, and he basically said not really — his growth last season was very promising, but both sides probably want the chance to see/develop more before committing beyond RFA years.

Anyway, Dobson, Romanov and Bellows also spoke, and a combo of their availability can be heard here:

Romanov said he was “shocked” by the trade, but he’s excited, already on Long Island, and “ready to play today.” Also: He’s tight with Ilya Sorokin and been hanging out with him, so that should make for some fun victory hugs this season. (He also says he doesn’t care if you call him Alex or Alexander.)

  • On Dobson and the Isles, for whom patience and persistence have paid off. [Isles | Newsday | Post]
  • On Romanov being “ready to go,” like right now. [Isles]
  • On Bellows, who wants to be a regular and make an impact. [Isles]
  • On Lamoriello, who is “really excited about the team that we have right now going into the season.” “There shouldn’t be any disappointment from anyone,” so don’t go there, etc. “When we hear the word disappointment, I wonder what that is.” [Isles | Newsday | Post | Athletic | Sportsnet]

In case you missed it, at the WJC it was William Dufour’s Canada over Aatu Raty’s Finland in OT for gold. [Sportsnet]

Speaking of which, the Athletic’s Scott Wheeler decided to empty his notebook on every player he monitored at the WJC, so we empty what he said about two Islanders prospects [Athletic]:

William Dufour: “When he loads up, that shot of his is hard to stop. Comes off so hard. Bigger and stronger than his peers, which allowed him to rack up shot attempts, hold his space inside the offensive zone, and work off the wall in control. Made some nice soft plays too. Using his size to win body positioning and get to the front of the net. Excellent.”

Aatu Raty: “Playing intentionally. Playing between the dots. Skating looks really good (much improved, for sure). Was constantly pushing down hill and always seemed to be entering the zone with control in the middle of the ice. Seeing the ice well and making players through layers when the north-south game wasn’t there. He was impressive start to finish.”


  • Jim Rutherford says he knows questions will only keep mounting about why he left the Penguins suddenly, so he’s answering them just this one time to say...he was a bit stressed and short-fused being an old man in an intense job during the pandemic. [Post-Gazette]
  • Offseason look at the Canadiens, who don’t expect to have Carey Price all year. [NHL]
  • Kyle Turris, who had a pretty odd career, has retired from playing. [TSN]
  • Ryan Ellis only played four games for the Flyers last season and he’s not expected to be ready for the start of this one. “Complex of the whole pelvic region” is an amazing injury (and also frustrating and excruciating, I’m sure). [NHL]
  • Teams are getting around the whole “goalies are voodoo” school by drafting lots of them in the middle rounds, with some inevitably paying off. [TSN]