Before training camp opened, Lou Lamoriello was asked about his famously secretive ways. Essentially, the Islanders president and general manager, who has been at the helm of an NHL franchise since 1987, said he likes keeping all options available as long as possible.
That certainly seems to be the case in advance of Monday’s 5 p.m. deadline for submitting the team’s initial 23-player maximum roster to the NHL. Somewhat surprisingly, no Islanders were among the 43 players placed on waivers leaguewide on Sunday, a necessary step for many who are about to be reassigned to the AHL. But that could just signal an imminent flurry of other transactions.
The Islanders will open the regular season on Thursday night at Carolina after concluding their five-game preseason schedule with a 5-4 overtime loss to the Rangers on Saturday night in Bridgeport, Connecticut. They did not practice on Sunday.
Defenseman Thomas Hickey and forward Richard Panik cleared waivers on Sunday but were not immediately reassigned to the Islanders’ AHL affiliate in Bridgeport.
"I can understand the question by everyone," Lamoriello said on Sept. 21 regarding his ultra-hush-hush methods. "But there’s a reason for everything you do. It’s a combination of things. It has to do with salary cap. It has to do with negotiations. And it has to do with potential acquisitions and confidentiality and the unknown to your opponent."
Lamoriello certainly is pushing the boundaries of that philosophy.
For instance, the team had acknowledged one-year agreements with Zdeno Chara and Zach Parise, but those deals weren’t submitted to the NHL until Sunday. Both were inked to $750,000 deals with another potential $750,000 in performance bonuses, but neither was on the official roster before Sunday despite having been with the team since the start of training camp and participating in the preseason. The same was true of goalie Cory Schneider and forwards Kieffer Bellows, Michael Dal Colle and Anatolii Golyshev.
The roster also didn’t include journeyman defenseman Erik Gustafsson, who attended training camp on a professional tryout offer, which he was released from on Sunday.
Coach Barry Trotz indicated that Saturday night’s lineup very likely featured the players he will dress for Thursday’s opener against the Hurricanes.
Bellows, Dal Colle, Golyshev, Hickey, Panik, Leo Komarov and defensemen Sebastian Aho and Robin Salo were the healthy players who did not dress.
Johnny Boychuk will be placed back on long-term injured reserve so the Islanders can exceed the $81.5 million salary cap ceiling by $6 million. But the secretive Lamoriello also has lots of other work to do before Monday at 5.