New York Islanders Season Preview: The Godfather Moves in Silence

Sleepless Nights

Since the New Year, I’ve been experiencing strange symptoms. Sleepless nights. Sweaty sleepless night. Increasing nausea.  And worst of all, the same mantra cruising across my ceiling like the ESPN Bottom Line.

Mat Barzal is still not signed. Mat Barzal is still not signed. Mat. Barzal. Is. Still. Not. Signed. Puckraker, you’re dumb. Mat Barzal is still not signed.

My gut tells me there is a dispute about money and Uncle Lou’s office is lowballing Barzal based on stats. The Isles play a defensive game, and Barzal can’t roam as free as other electric forwards in the league. But no one knows for sure why he’s not signed.

Only the Family knows. Of course, I have nothing but respect for the Family. I love you Uncle Lou. Please don’t make me disappear.

Although Uncle Lou makes the finest chicken parm this side of the Mississippi, his cooking has not satisfied my palate this offseason.

You’re gonna eat it and you’re gonna like it, son.

Too Many Good Young D

First, he chose Adam Pelech over Devon Toews, who signed with Colorado. Pelech has grown on me the last two seasons, but I still prefer Toews. Toews is a better skater and better knows when to join the rush.

Pelech is a solid stay-at-home with developing NHL offesnsive capability, but him on the point with Pulock is not the same as Toews. Obviously we’d love to have both of them, but the cap could not accommodate both blossoming d-men.

Who’s next, Bryce Salvador? John Madden? Chico Resch?

Second, Lou needs to relax with bringing over ex-Devils. I don’t mind keeping Andy Greene, who looked stable and not 50 years old in the playoffs. With Boychuk retiring, his experience is sorely needed to help Pulock, Pelech, and Mayfield grow.

Then Lou goes and signs Cory Schneider. Even my grandma would have an .800 save percentage with the Isles in front of her. But Cory Schneider???? Really? Why?

Let’s get Chico back in the fold. Mustache, waffleboard, and straight up sex.

Schneider was brutal in Jersey. Is Lou planning on him as the backup? Makes zero sense to me when we finally got Sorokin into the States and the backup goalie is extra important given the compressed schedule this season. If Schneider plays 10-12 games, the Isles will be hard-pressed to be 5th in the league in goals against again. (And don’t forget the Jennings trophy from 2018-19).

Isles were Top 5 in Goals Against with Varlamov and Greiss

What is the point of bringing Ilya Sorokin over to send him to Bridgeport? Or will Schneider wallow in Bridgeport and give way to the Dynamo duo of Sorokin and Semyon Varlamov, who will surely bring the Iron Curtain to Long Island?

I’m nervous about Lou’s old-school mentality burying Sorokin in Bridgeport, and Sorokin swinging back to the KHL. I’m nervous that Uncle Lou is signing aging vets to die on the Isles, much like the elephant graveyard Garth Snow made the team in the early 2000’s with Mike Sillinger, Doug Weight, etc.

OK Lou, which cement mixer is Barzal in?

Do Not Bury Mat Barzal in Concrete at a Construction Site

Lou works in mysterious ways. He sat tight last offseason, barely making any moves, and what many fans thought would be a struggle turned into the Isles’ best season in 30 years.

I want to trust Uncle Lou. I really do. But a lifetime of Islanders fandom has left me bitter and paranoid.

Just sign Barzal already, Lou. He’s absolute dynamite and deserves top scorer pay even if his numbers are lower due to the Islanders’ defensive style of play. Pay the man.

Author: Puckraker

Puckraker grew up skating and retired after a Tier III NYS tournament appearance with the Great Neck Bruins. These days, Puckraker is a lawyer living the dream from New Orleans, where there are no hockey rinks.

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