Lou Lamoriello does not generally gush, and even when he made a bold assertion on Wednesday, his tone was as even as usual.
But the Islanders general manager offered strong words — for him — about the state of his roster when he spoke to reporters on a video call in advance of Thursday night’s opener against the Hurricanes in Raleigh.
"This is the deepest team that we’ve had here," he said, "as far as the differential of talent from top to bottom. So we feel very good. But once again, we have to go out and perform."
This is the fourth season of the Lamoriello/Barry Trotz partnership, which has resulted in three playoff appearances and two consecutive trips to the NHL semifinals.
With the Islanders set to open a new arena next month, a veteran roster and clearly in go-for-it mode, Lamoriello believes the necessary pieces are in place.
"Unfortunately, you cannot keep everyone," he said. "But you hope that you can have the people to put into those positions, and we’re a four-line team."
There are personnel changes every year, in this case the departures after last season of Nick Leddy and Jordan Eberle and the arrivals of veterans Zdeno Chara and Zach Parise.
But the Islanders mostly have kept their longtime core together, and now are poised for another run.
When told of Lamoriello’s comments about the team’s depth, captain Anders Lee concurred.
"Now it’s time to put it all together and go play some games and execute on having this opportunity," he said.
"We’ve been going at this for a while now, and I think we’re all looking around and looking at the guys in the room and understanding what’s available here for us."
The Islanders will take 25 players on the road to start the season, including two who are on the injured list in goaltender Semyon Varlamov and forward Matt Martin.
On Wednesday the team added forward Kieffer Bellows and goalie Cory Schneider to the roster and sent defenseman Thomas Hickey and goaltender Jakub Skarek to Bridgeport.
"We feel really good where we are right now," Lamoriello said. "This is where we thought we would end up, or wanted to end up, and fortunately, we’re there."
Both Lamoriello and Trotz emphasized the importance of taking this one step at a time. The season is back to normal length for the first time since 2018-19, and the playoffs are a long, long way away.
"Right now, as far as I’m concerned, the glass is half full," Lamoriello said. "It's an exciting time of the year . . . When you're a veteran team, you can't wait for training camp to get over to get started with the games. When you're a young player you just soak in everything you possibly can during training camp.
"So, we're ready to start playing."
Notes & quotes: Lamoriello declined to comment on a timeline for negotiating a new contract with Trotz, whose five-year deal expires after next season. "I don’t want you to take that and interpret it in any way," he said, "but those are all private matters." . . . Oliver Wahlstrom, 21, on linemate Parise, 37: "I’ve watched him play since I was born."