NASHVILLE — The Islanders haven’t made a first-round pick since taking Simon Holmstrom 23rd overall in 2019.
President/general manger Lou Lamoriello certainly expects that streak to reach four years on Wednesday night. He traded this year’s top pick, which turned out to be No. 17, to the Canucks as part of the package for Bo Horvat on Jan. 30 and Lamoriello said on Tuesday he did not expect to be trading back into the first round.
“I don’t think that there’s a chance of that,” Lamoriello said after attending a general manager’s meeting. “There’s always a chance but I’m answering the question.”
The first round will be Wednesday night at Bridgestone Arena with rounds two through seven on Thursday. The Islanders own the 49th overall pick and also have selections in the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh rounds.
“Our scouts think it’s quite deep,” Lamoriello said of the talent pool. “But we’ve heard that before. But I think it’s deep from everything I’ve seen and heard as far as the consistency.”
Lamoriello traded his first-round pick in 2022 to acquire defenseman Alexander Romanov from the Canadiens. In 2021, the first-round pick went to the Devils as part of the package for Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac. The first-round pick in 2020 went to the Senators as part of the package for Jean-Gabriel Pageau.
The Islanders finished 42-31-9 in coach Lane Lambert’s first season and went back to the playoffs after a one-season absence. But they were eliminated by the Hurricanes in six games in the first round.
The Islanders need to replenish their depth of prospect talent. But Lamoriello is always in a win-now frame of mind.
“I think we put ourselves in a position to have success,” captain Anders Lee told Newsday last week. “We unfortunately came up short in a tight series. There’s other reasons that you can attribute to the game of hockey. There’s ones you can pinpoint and control and do our best to fix. Some of them are more obvious than others.
“When you lose out, it’s never a good feeling and it’s one that doesn’t sit well. We’re all looking forward to regrouping and coming back in the fall.”
Lamoriello repeated on Tuesday he would like to re-sign unrestricted free agents Pierre Engvall, goalie Semyon Varlamov and defenseman Scott Mayfield.
Lamoriello added UFA Zach Parise, who turns 39 on July 28, has yet to decide whether he wants to continue his career. He also said goalie Cory Schneider is likely to play in Europe next season after three seasons in the Islanders’ organization.
“It’s my understanding that he’s going to Europe but I’m not sure if that’s been confirmed,” Lamoriello said. “I spoke to him and I think he’s going to pass on the thought process of getting back to the NHL.”
Oliver Wahlstrom, Blade Jenkins, Bode Wilde, Collin Adams, Parker Wotherspoon and goalie Jakub Skarek are the organizational restricted free agents. Lamoriello said there were “a couple” that would not be offered qualifying offers by Friday’s deadline.
Lamoriello also said there was nothing new to report on Josh Bailey, the longest-tenured Islander who made clear he did not wish to go through another season of being a consistent healthy scratch. He has one season remaining on his six-year, $30 million deal.
Lamoriello said he expects Mitch Korn to return as the organization’s director of goaltending even though he’s been closely associated with former Islanders coach Barry Trotz — now the incoming Nashville GM — throughout his career.
Lamoriello also noted his job responsibilities will not change with John Collins becoming the team’s operating partner and running the business operations.
Possible Islanders targets
The Islanders own the 49th overall pick in Thursday’s second round. Here are three potential draft targets at that spot:
D Luca Cagnoni, Portland (WHL): The 5-9, 180-pound left-hander is an offensive-minded defenseman who shows a real aggressive streak in the offensive zone. He set career highs in his third season of junior hockey with 17 goals, 47 assists and 46 penalty minutes in 67 games.
RW Lenni Hameenaho, Assat (Finland): The six-foot, 173-pounder, a right-shooting right wing, had nine goals and 12 assists in 51 games while displaying strong defensive skills in Finland’s top league. He needs to work on his skating speed.
C Riley Heidt, Prince George (WHL): The 5-10, 178-pound Heidt plays a feisty, edgy game and is strong on faceoffs. The left-handed shooter set career highs with 25 goals and 72 assists in 68 games in his third season of junior hockey.