Rangers left wing Sammy Blais checks Islanders defenseman Alexander Romanov in...

Rangers left wing Sammy Blais checks Islanders defenseman Alexander Romanov in the third period of an NHL game at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 8. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

DENVER — The injury updates came first. But Islanders president and general manager Lou Lamoriello, an NHL executive since 1987, also expressed some strong opinions on the importance of playing more division games and on how coach Lane Lambert has altered the team’s offensive approach since being promoted to replace Barry Trotz.

The Islanders faced the defending Stanley Cup champion Avalanche on Monday night at Ball Arena in the penultimate match of a five-game road trip, their longest of the season.

Lamoriello announced that goalie Semyon Varlamov (lower body) and right wings Kyle Palmieri (upper body) and Cal Clutterbuck (upper body) are day-to-day and unavailable. Varlamov exited Saturday’s 5-2 win over Vegas in the third period and Palmieri and Clutterbuck were injured in the third period of Friday’s 5-4 loss to the Coyotes.

Lamoriello also said defenseman Adam Pelech (suspected head injury), who missed his sixth game, has yet to resume skating.

Lamoriello said he has no long-term concerns about any of the injured players and that Clutterbuck’s injury was unrelated to the shoulder injury that ended his 2021-22 season.

Also on Monday, forward Nikita Soshnikov, who had been playing for the Islanders’ AHL affiliate in Bridgeport, cleared unconditional waivers for the purpose of terminating his contract. He is expected to go back to Russia to play in the KHL.

Lamoriello attended last week’s Board of Governors’ meeting in Palm Beach, Florida, where a plan to increase the regular season to 84 games was discussed. The extra two games would ensure that each team plays all of its division rivals four times per season. For instance, the Islanders and Rangers will conclude their season series on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden and will play only three times this season.

“My reaction to any change is if it makes the game better, I’m for it,” Lamoriello said. “As far as division games, I have my opinion on that and it’s very strong. We should play as many division games as we possibly can. There’s no question in my mind about that.”

The Islanders entered Monday’s game 12th in the NHL with 104 goals after finishing last season 24th with 231.

Lamoriello said the tweaks Lambert made to the Islanders’ system have made the team more effective offensively.

“There’s no question,” Lamoriello said. “All the questions about offense I think have been answered. Whenever you do that, there is a little sacrifice with defense. What we’re acquiring right now is a combination of both. I’m very pleased with the status of where we’re at right now.”

A holiday roster freeze went into effect at midnight on Monday and runs through Dec. 28. The trade deadline is March 3.

“You always want to get better,” Lamoriello said. “You have to feel good about the team that you have and believe in it. If not, it wouldn’t be where it’s at. But certainly, getting better is something you try to do. It takes two to do that. Whenever you add, you have to subtract. You have to make sure you’re extremely comfortable with the end result.”

As for the injuries, Lamoriello did not want to go into greater detail.

“I think we’re reporting what we have to report,” he said. “I don’t think reporting injuries is something that’s in the best interest of the team or the player.”

Lamoriello also declined to comment on Nick Ritchie’s high hit on Palmieri. The Coyotes left wing drew an interference penalty but no supplemental discipline from the NHL. Palmieri, who cleared concussion protocol after exiting Friday’s game, had just returned to the lineup after missing 10 games with an upper-body injury.

Varlamov had made 35 saves and was headed to his fifth win in six starts when he took himself out of Saturday’s game. Former Devils No. 1 goalie Cory Schneider was brought up from Bridgeport in Varlamov’s absence.

“When he gets back, he’ll be right where he is today,” Lamoriello said of Varlamov. “We have total confidence in both our goaltenders, Ilya [Sorokin] and Varly. As well as Schneider, the way he has been playing. In the last couple of years, he’s resurrected his career.”

Schneider is 10-3-2 with a 2.51 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage for Bridgeport.

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