Islanders’ Nazem Kadri miss leaves a lot of maybes

Lou Lamoriello went into the offseason with a mandate. He fired Barry Trotz, a popular head coach who had taken the Islanders to two straight conference finals before a disappointing 2021-22 season.

Lamoriello, the Islanders’ president and general manager, talked about improving the blue line and making a “hockey deal” to bolster the forward group. His objective was clear, leading the Islanders out of the morass into which they had slipped last season.

It’s now mid-August and most of the NHL’s business before training camp has been long concluded. The last big name on the market, Nazem Kadri, signed with the Flames on Thursday morning. The Islanders have made one addition that we know of: Alexander Romanov, a raw but promising defenseman for whom Lamoriello dealt his first-round pick on the draft floor six weeks ago.

Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello is seen before the second round of the 2022 NHL Draft at Bell Centre on July 8, 2022 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello is seen before the second round of the 2022 NHL Draft.
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Nazem Kadri of the Avalanche celebrates after scoring a goal on Mike Smith #41 of the Oilers during the second period in Game 2 of the Western Conference Final of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Ball Arena on June 2, 2022 in Denver.
Nazem Kadri of the Avalanche celebrates after scoring a goal on Mike Smith of the Oilers during Game 2 of the Western Conference Final.
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Losing out on Kadri, who had been linked to the Islanders by SportsNet’s Elliotte Friedman and by fans hoping that Lamoriello’s unusual silence meant he was trying to clear cap space, is only the latest disappointment. That letdown stems from the Islanders’ omerta regarding transactions, which led portions of their fan base to believe a deal with the former Avalanche center was done when no credible reporting indicated that to be the case.

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