Welcome to The Athletic’s 2022-23 version of the workforce season previews. Check out all of the previews as they’re launched right here.
On one hand, the Islanders haven’t modified a lot.
Swapping Barry Trotz out for Lane Lambert is like shifting to a home in the identical zip code. The solely main addition to the roster, regardless of (alleged) flirtations with Johnny Gaudreau and J.T. Miller? Defenseman Alex Romanov. If Mathew Barzal anticipated to return again from summer time trip and meet some new mates, he’s been upset.
On the opposite hand, a few of the Islanders’ greatest points from final season are virtually actually unrepeatable. There’s no five-week highway journey to begin the season, and the chances that their roster is gutted by one other COVID-19 variant are, knock on wooden, low. Whether all that was an evidence, an excuse, or a coincidence, it occurred, and the Islanders missed the playoffs after beginning the season as one of many consensus favorites within the Eastern Conference.
Now, we get to determine whether or not their descent again into mediocrity was a blip on the radar or water discovering its degree. If it seems to be the latter — if the regression continues — it’ll be time for Lou Lamoriello to do one thing a bit extra drastic than buying and selling for an RFA defenseman on the draft.