MONTREAL — As day two of the NHL draft opened and goaltenders began to be moved with abandon — Ville Husso to the Pink Wings, Vitek Vanacek to the Devils — the thoughts wandered to the Islanders and Semyon Varlamov.
Varlamov performed 32 video games final season and takes a $5 million chunk out of the crew’s cap sheet. There may be some query over the standing of Ilya Sorokin, the Islanders’ presumptive starter, who’s presently in Russia, per an Instagram submit. Assuming he makes it again to North America, nonetheless, will probably be his present in web. It’s simple to place the puzzle items collectively from there.
Islanders common supervisor Lou Lamoriello, nonetheless, is holding steadfast to the goaltending tandem he has in place.
“That’s my feeling,” Lamoriello mentioned on the draft flooring moments after the seventh spherical wrapped. “I’ve mentioned it from day one and I really feel that approach right this moment.”
Should you take him at his phrase, that eliminates one of many clearest strikes dangling in entrance of the Islanders to get some cash off the books that can be utilized for a ahead when free company opens subsequent week.
Nonetheless, it’s simple to see why clearing Varlamov’s $5 million off the books may make sense, if not now, then quickly.
Lamoriello checked the largest field of the offseason on Thursday night time when he gave up a first-round choose to get defenseman Alexander Romanov, finishing the crew’s prime 4 with a bodily skater who can transfer the puck alongside Noah Dobson — albeit one with appreciable room to develop.
Subsequent on the listing: a wing who can make the most of Mathew Barzal’s prodigious talent.
When eventual contracts for Dobson and Romanov are factored into the cap calculations, although, Lamoriello may need restricted room during which so as to add a ahead with out making a commerce. He additionally famous, when requested about pending unrestricted free agent Sebastian Aho, that the Islanders plan to re-sign their younger gamers. Kieffer Bellows, who can be hitting restricted free company, would presumably be counted amongst that group.
The Islanders additionally have to preserve behind their minds that Barzal is due a brand new contract following the approaching season — and assuming he plans to remain on Lengthy Island, as indicated throughout his exit interview in April, that would nicely break the financial institution.
On Friday afternoon, although, Lamoriello exhibited a contented air over his week’s work.
“We obtained a participant we will put in our lineup, so all people’s pleased,” he mentioned. “After which right this moment, we gotta diversify.”
That got here within the type of including Swedish defenseman Calle Odelius with the sixty fifth choose, USHL ahead Quinn Finley with the 78th choose, then OHL defenseman Isaiah George with the 98th choose, all inside 90 minutes of the proceedings.
If there was a typical theme to glean from these alternatives, it was that the Islanders prioritized skating and upside.
“We obtained a pair good defensemen,” Lamoriello mentioned. “One we felt very robust on, actually. We obtained a aim scorer. Obtained a younger participant who’s obtained great upside.
Within the fifth and sixth rounds, the Islanders went with two older gamers, Matt Maggio and Daylan Kuefler.
“I’m so pleased that I ended up with the Islanders,” Odelius mentioned, summing up the overall feeling of the draftees. “I do know some issues in regards to the Islanders, like Lengthy Island, Noah Dobson, Mathew Barzal.”
Barzal, who has confirmed to be the Islanders’ most recognizable face among the many 18-year-old hockey gamers on the draft, would be the middle of intrigue quickly sufficient. For the second, although, the main focus turns to getting the fitting items round him.
“If we will do some issues that we really feel higher positionally, we’re gonna do it,” Lamoriello mentioned. “We’ve tried to do one thing for our protection. We have been lucky, for my part, to get Romanov. Now it’s simply, take one factor at a time.”
Islanders draft picks
Place: Left defenseman
Drafted: 2nd spherical, sixty fifth total
Weight: 185 kilos
Membership: Djugardens (SHL)
What to know: Odelius is a formidable skater, however performed simply seven video games in Sweden’s prime division final 12 months and might want to present extra at that stage, notably in his physicality.
Place: Left wing
Drafted: third spherical, 78th total
Weight: 170 kilos
Membership: Madison Capitols (USHL)
What to know: Finley, a Wisconsin commit, is a play-making wing who could have a number of years to go in his growth, and might want to acquire some muscle in that point.
Place: Left defenseman
Drafted: 4th spherical, 98th total
Weight: 196 kilos
Membership: London Knights (OHL)
What to know: Between George and Odelius, the Islanders prioritized skating of their younger defensemen. George had six targets and 17 assists in his first OHL season final 12 months.
Place: Proper wing
Drafted: fifth spherical, 142nd total
Weight: 187 kilos
Membership: Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
What to know: At 19, Maggio is an older prospect, however had a breakout 12 months in 2021-22 with 85 factors, scoring 38 targets with 47 assists.
Place: Left wing
Drafted: sixth spherical, 174th total
Weight: 192 kilos
Club: Kamloops Blazers (WHL)
What to know: Kuefler is in the identical mildew as Maggio: an overage prospect who produced at a excessive stage final season. At age 20, Kuefler scored 38 targets with 21 assists for Kamloops final season.