Now that Lou Lamoriello has been hired to run the Islanders as president of hockey operations, here are his top offseason priorities:
1. Decide upon his management and coaching teams
Current GM Garth Snow and coach Doug Weight should soon know their fates as Lamoriello will likely want as much of his leadership structure in place as possible by the NHL Draft June 22-23 in Dallas. The Islanders have eight picks over seven rounds, including the 11th and 12th overall selections.
2. Try to re-sign John Tavares
The captain, a franchise foundation since being selected first overall in 2009, will be an unrestricted free agent July 1.
3. Acquire a No. 1 goalie
Thomas Greiss isn’t the long-term answer, Jaroslav Halak and Christopher Gibson are unrestricted free agents and there’s nothing immediately ready in the farm system.
4. Shore up his defense
The Islanders, after giving up an NHL-worst 293 goals, likely need two defensemen to slide into their top four. It will also be interesting to see whether Lamoriello’s hiring makes it more likely the Islanders will be able to — or want to — re-sign UFA Calvin de Haan.
5. Help up front
There’s top-end talent besides Tavares in Mathew Barzal, expected to win the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie, Josh Bailey, Anders Lee, Anthony Beauvillier and Jordan Eberle. But the Islanders sorely need more quality depth among their bottom-six forwards.