Ilya Sorokin of the Islanders cools off during a break in the...

Ilya Sorokin of the Islanders cools off during a break in the second period against the Lightning at UBS Arena on March 27. Credit: Jim McIsaac

MONTREAL — The conversation started with the NHL Draft, which opens with the first round on Thursday night at Bell Centre, but soon switched to Islanders president and general manager Lou Lamoriello’s comfort level with Russian goalie Ilya Sorokin being at home for the offseason.

After all, Flyers goalie prospect Ivan Fedotov was arrested in Russia for allegedly evading mandatory military service and taken to a military naval camp, the Wild’s Kirill Kaprizov is reportedly wanted in Russia for allegedly buying a falsified military ID card and there is a general concern among NHL executives regarding Russian players being able to return to North America as that country’s conflict with the Ukraine continues.

“I’m not concerned about any of our players,” Lamoriello said on Wednesday after the league’s GM meeting. “Whatever conversations we’ve had with them is simply they have to make decisions that are in their best interests. I can only worry about our players and I’m very comfortable in this situation of our players. Everything sometimes gets blown out of proportion.”

Lamoriello would not speculate whether the situation in Russia might deter any NHL teams from drafting prospects from that country.

The Islanders own the 13th overall pick as well as one selection each in rounds two, three, five and six on Friday afternoon. Lamoriello said while his staff was confident it could select a good prospect in that first-round position, he did not rule out trading the pick.

The NHL is conducting its first in-person draft since 2019. The host Canadiens own the No. 1 pick.

“Like everything else, you’re open to anything,” Lamoriello said. “When you draft 13, you’re open to anything that’s going to make you better. But you’re not going to do anything foolish. There’s always conversations.”

Lamoriello has spoken this offseason of making “hockey trades” as opposed to salary cap-forced deals to improve his club. A high-scoring, top-six wing and a puck-moving defensemen are seen as priorities.

Lamoriello said, in a “perfect world,” he would like to add both an offensive-minded defenseman and a defensive blue-liner. Defensemen Andy Greene, 39, and Zdeno Chara, 45, are both unrestricted free agents and Lamoriello said there have been no discussions with either on returning.

Emerging star defenseman Noah Dobson is a restricted free agent without arbitration rights who could attract an offer sheet from another team.

Lamoriello said that does not create added urgency to sign Dobson quickly.

“I don’t even think like that,” Lamoriello said. “It’s not even in my vocabulary. We will do whatever we can to get him signed whenever we can but we’re not going to be threatened by worrying about doing something because of [an offer sheet]. I’ve been in this too long to worry about that.”

Dobson, Kieffer Bellows and top defense prospect Robin Salo are among the organization’s seven RFAs. Lamoriello said a final decision has not been made on extending qualifying offers to all. That deadline is Monday.

Lamoriello did confirm the front-office addition of Jim Paliafito, let go by the Maple Leafs in May, to handle European free agents. He added he does not expect to also hire an associate coach for new bench boss Lane Lambert after bringing in assistant coaches Doug Houda, who will work with the defense, and Brian Wiseman on Tuesday.

Lamoriello said director of goaltending Mitch Korn and goalie coach Piero Greco both remain with the organization.

Lambert will not be involved with the Islanders’ draft.

Lastly, Lamoriello said defenseman Bode Wilde, a second-round pick in 2018, is “still in limbo” with the organization after not getting a COVID-19 vaccine and playing in Sweden last season.

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