Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello speaks with the media before a...

Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello speaks with the media before a game against the Flyers at UBS Arena on Nov. 25, 2023. Credit: Jim McIsaac

ST. LOUIS — Lou Lamoriello, as always, is seemingly open to pretty much anything that would improve the Islanders as the NHL trade deadline approaches on March 8. That includes creating more salary-cap space by dealing a current contract or potentially trading another first-round pick.

The Islanders president/general manager just doesn’t believe in rebuilding.

“It’s only in recent years that ‘buyers and sellers’ have come out,” Lamoriello said in a wide-ranging sitdown prior to Thursday night’s match against the Blues at Enterprise Center.

“Now it’s become something prevalent in sports where you think you’re going to be able to use it as a reason to bleed and try and reload. I’m not a believer in that. If there are players that are not in your plans, then you have to look at something like that if you felt you weren’t going to have a chance to be in the playoffs.”

To be very clear, Lamoriello believes his team is a playoff contender, especially with the switch to Patrick Roy as coach after firing Lane Lambert on Jan. 20.

“If I didn’t believe in the group, you wouldn’t make the coaching change,” Lamoriello said. “I believe in the group. But we have to play to our capabilities.”

Lamoriello has traded away four straight first-round picks — not drafting in the first round since taking Simon Holmstrom 23rd overall in 2019 — to acquire, in order, core players Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Kyle Palmieri, Alexander Romanov and Bo Horvat.

Lamoriello said where a team picks in the first round must be taken into account when pondering trading the selection. Right now, the Islanders would draft around 15th overall.

“I wouldn’t want to trade that pick unless I felt that pick was going to help us win today,” Lamoriello said. “Or you were going to get a player that was going to be with you for a time. You do not trade a first-round pick if you did not have a reason for it.”

But, currently, the Islanders have just about $135,000 in cap space.

“You can always make transactions to create space,” Lamoriello said. “Whatever we can do, if we can, to make ourselves better, we’re certainly going to do it.”

Later, Lamoriello added, “There’s no such thing as no one will be traded. I don’t say that to say everybody’s available. That’s not the case.”

“You never know what moves are going to be made,” Brock Nelson said. “Whenever there is something, we trust in Lou.”

Lamoriello would not specify whether the Islanders needed more help defensively or up front.

But he did not sound hopeful veteran defenseman Robert Bortuzzo, out since Jan. 2 with what Roy has revealed is a high ankle sprain, would be able to provide immediate depth.

“He looked like he was coming along but then he reinjured it,” Lamoriello said. “That’s indefinite until we know something different.”

Lamoriello added he expects forward Hudson Fasching (long-term injured reserve/lower body), out since Jan. 25, to play at least one rehab game with the Islanders’ AHL affiliate in Bridgeport.

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