Lou finally made a trade… How does everyone feel about it?
On Sunday, February 16, Lou Lamoriello finally made an in-season trade for the New York Islanders. He acquired Andy Greene, a left-handed defenseman and the former New Jersey Devils captain.
Prior to his debut as an Islander, Greene spent his entire career with the Devils, drafted by Lamoriello. He never contributed many goals, and his best points total with the Devils was only 37 in the 2009-10 season. However, there’s no knocking him as a defenseman.
A true defensive defenseman, Greene blocks an average of 150 shots a season. In just 53 games with the Devils this season, he’s already blocked 136. He’s not afraid to sacrifice his body or get hurt helping his goaltender. He knows how to win the battles in the corners, steal the puck, create opportunities. He’s exactly what the team currently needs. He may not bring the desperately-needed offense, but he will plug some holes in the defense.
Since Pelech injured his Achilles, the Isles have needed a left-handed defenseman. Noah Dobson just isn’t a good replacement. That’s not his fault exactly; he was barely given any game-time experience until, all of a sudden, he was demanded to fill in for one the team’s best defensemen. Partially because he’s a righty, and partially because he doesn’t have the experience and skill yet, Dobson just isn’t cutting it. Sebastian Aho wasn’t given a chance either. Granted, if he was, he might have run into the same problems as Dobson: not enough experience before being tossed into a position bigger than him.
So, having another veteran on defense is a plus. Even better, Greene has captain experience and got his team through tough times. With Cizikas out now, too, the Islanders really need a good penalty killer as well as a good defenseman. Green is all those things, and he showed as much in Arizona and Colorado.
But it can’t be enough.
Are these the same Islanders who went on a 17-game point streak to start the season? Not exactly. Throughout October and November, the Islanders faced a long list of injuries: Jordan Eberle, Leo Komarov, Tom Kuhnhackl, Nick Leddy, Matt Martin, and Andrew Ladd all faced overlapping injuries. Andrew Ladd and Tom Kuhnhackl are not necessarily important to the lineup (seeing as one is in Bridgeport and the other rarely plays anyway), but the other injuries were to significant players. Yet, the Isles still found ways to win.
Now, Adam Pelech, Cal Clutterbuck, and Casey Cizikas are out, and the Islanders cannot pull themselves together for more than two games at a time. After losing just three players, they fall completely apart? The last two months of Islanders hockey really puts into perspective just how good the “best fourth line in hockey” really is. Isles fans love throwing that moniker around – the best fourth line, the identity line – and January and February, when two of the three are hurt, have truly proved it.
At this point, with little more than 20 games remaining, further trades are probably not going to help the Islanders. If they’re going to find real success again, either the kids (Wahlstrom, Bardreau, Johnston) who took part in the top lines during the winning streak will have to be brought back or this team, as a whole, will have to take a good long nap and remember its motivations.
Something has got to happen in the locker room, as it stands, for this team to find, once again, its winning identity.
Featured Image: Getty Images / Christian Petersen