Though the New York Islanders returned to the postseason this yr, the outcomes had been underwhelming. Whereas falling within the decisive seventh recreation of their first-round collection towards the Carolina Hurricanes, aim scoring was the first purpose for the Islanders’ demise. In actual fact, three of their losses had been one-goal video games as they did not ship the offensive help required for his or her blossoming star goaltender Ilya Sorokin to steal a recreation within the collection. The common season additionally highlighted the membership’s lack of offence, as they completed with 243 goals-for, rating twenty third throughout the NHL and twelfth out of the 16 Jap Convention groups. Because the Stanley Cup Last wraps up and the NHL strikes full swing into the offseason, precedence primary for Lou Lamoriello’s membership ought to be including a top-six ahead resembling Vladimir Tarasenko to their offensive group.
Islanders Ought to Pursue Vladimir Tarasenko
If common supervisor (GM) Lou Lamoriello makes an attempt to shore up his membership’s top-six ahead group, he ought to be in full pursuit of veteran Russian winger Tarasenko. Though the 31-year-old’s companies had been accessible at this season’s commerce deadline, Tarasenko completed the season with the Islanders’ long-time arch-rival New York Rangers. Following the commerce to the Rangers, he scored eight objectives and 13 assists for 21 factors in 31 video games.
Earlier than the Rangers landed the previous St Louis Blues star, there was some hypothesis that the Islanders had been certainly one of Tarasenko’s most popular locations (from ‘Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko requests a commerce, per sources: Why he needs out, potential locations, extra,’ The Athletic, July 7, 2021). Though Lamoriello couldn’t convey within the sniper on the commerce deadline, this summer time’s free company provides the Corridor of Fame GM one other probability to convey him to Lengthy Island.
Shoulder accidents have considerably plagued Tarasenko in latest seasons. Nonetheless, he has confirmed that he can bolster any crew’s offence and might nonetheless be a really efficient aim scorer. After enjoying in a complete of 34 video games by means of the 2019-20 and 2020-21 NHL seasons, he bounced again in 2021-22, setting a career-high 82 factors with 34 objectives and 48 assists.
Tarasenko’s Influence on the Islanders Would Be Monumental
Inserting a confirmed goal-scoring winger like Tarasenko into the Islanders’ lineup is exactly what they’ve been lacking for the reason that departure of former captain John Tavares. Whereas Tarasenko is just not the game-breaker that Tavares as soon as was, the potential addition would give the Islanders two bonafide scoring strains. Mathew Barzal could be a large beneficiary to having a participant with Tarasenko’s skillset skating alongside him, because the Islanders’ playmaker has largely lacked a pure goal-scorer for the whole thing of his NHL profession.
Slotting Tarasenko alongside Barzal on the Islanders’ prime line with the return of a wholesome Oliver Walhstrom permits head coach Lane Lambert to deploy a second line with choices resembling Bo Horvat, Brock Nelson, Anders Lee and Kyle Palmieri. Such offensive depth is just not a luxurious he was gifted throughout his first season on the helm of the membership.
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Moreover and extra intriguing for the Islanders is the presence that Tarasenko would convey to their abysmal energy play. Throughout their first-round collection towards the Hurricanes, they scored only one aim on 18 energy play alternatives rating lifeless final of the 16 postseason groups at a 5.56 p.c success charge. Their energy play troubles had been additionally on show in the course of the common season as they completed thirtieth, capitalizing on 15.77 p.c of their possibilities.
Including Tarasenko would give the Islanders an elite capturing risk on their prime power-play unit and will single-handedly repair an issue space for the membership. Over his 11-year profession, he has scored 66 energy play objectives and 93 energy play assists, demonstrating his potential to create a extra lethal-looking power-play unit.
How The Islanders Can Make it Work
The hypothetical signing of Tarasenko would take some leg work from Lamoriello, because the Islanders have simply $5.34 million in cap area, in keeping with CapFriendly. First, he would wish to discover a technique to get Josh Bailey’s $5 million cap hit off the books for subsequent season. It seems as if his prolonged tenure with the Islanders is ending: “In Josh’s case, it appears to be like like, possibly it’s close to the top right here. In our scenario, Josh and I’ve, I feel a man-to-man relationship so far as honesty, and we are going to work with him — no matter — to assist him, however my precedence is doing what’s greatest for the crew.” Lamoriello mentioned earlier this week when he met with the media for the primary time for the reason that membership’s playoff exit.
Alternatively, the Islanders may all the time facilitate a commerce to shed some cap forward of the opening day of free company. Lamoriello has been no stranger to creating trades on the NHL Entry Draft, so a transfer this yr will not be a shock.
Touchdown Tarasenko May Push Islanders Over the High
Tarasenko will possible be looking for a long-term contract as he enters the latter a part of his profession, and since he has a Stanley Cup ring, he will likely be seeking to money in at prime greenback worth. There received’t be any team-friendly offers right here because the veteran is about to check the free-agent waters for the primary time in his profession.
Whereas it received’t be a straightforward activity, don’t depend Lamoriello out, because the savvy GM has a knack for making issues occur. Touchdown Tarasenko could be a grand slam for the membership and will push them excessive for the approaching season.