Lou Lamoriello expects full attendance as his Islanders finally reconvene amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I have no knowledge of any of our players opting out,” the Islanders president and general manager said on a teleconference on Saturday. “I would be surprised if there is one.”
The Islanders open training camp 2.0 on Monday at their practice facility in East Meadow as the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association both ratified the return-to-play format and collective bargaining agreement extension on Friday.
Players have until 5 p.m. on Monday to opt out of the plan that sees 24 teams reporting to an arena/hotel quarantine bubble in either Toronto or Edmonton on July 26. The Islanders face the Panthers in a best-of-five qualifying series in Toronto starting on Aug. 1.
Ex-Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic, now with the Flames, is one of a handful of players to already do so, citing family concerns.
Also on Monday, a 53-hour window starts at noon for Lamoriello to negotiate a contract with Russian goalie Ilya Sorokin. As part of the NHL-NHLPA agreement, unsigned draft picks cannot participate this season but can sign an entry-level deal and have this season count, enabling them to become a restricted free agent quicker.
Sorokin, who turns 25 in August and was a third-round pick of the Islanders in 2014, indicated he wanted to come to North America after his KHL deal expired on April 30.
“We only have to wait about four or five days to get the answer,” Lamoriello said. “We just got the transition rules. We’ll certainly speak with representation and see where it takes us. At this point, nothing is done.”
Though Lamoriello certainly would have preferred Sorokin to be eligible for this season, he had nothing but admiration for the NHL and the NHLPA ensuring labor peace through 2026.
“It puts our league in the forefront,” Lamoriello said. “No other league has done as good a job as the NHL has done bringing us back to play. But, more importantly, having peace with the union the next six years, it’s just an incredible job in a short period of time.”