The New York Islanders frequently surfaced in late July rumors leading up to the NHL draft weekend and the start of the free-agent period.
There was chatter linking them to St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko, talk of general manager Lou Lamoriello shopping for a top-four, left-side defenseman and speculation he'd already signed free agents like Zach Parise and Kyle Palmieri.
Lamoriello has been busy this off-season, shipping out Nick Leddy and Andrew Ladd to free up salary-cap space and re-signing Andy Greene and Adam Pelech. Since the Pelech signing, however, things have gone quiet on the Isles front.
On Aug. 6, The Athletic's Arthur Staple reported Parise, Palmieri, Travis Zajac and Casey Cizikas are believed to be under contract with the Islanders. That would explain the lack of buzz surrounding those players in a free-agent market otherwise picked clean of quality talent. Lamoriello has used this tactic before, waiting until prior to the start of last season to announce new contracts for Greene, Matt Martin and Cory Schneider.
So why the silence this time? Staples' theory is the wily Isles GM doesn't want his rivals to know how much cap space he actually has. As of Aug. 18, Cap Friendly indicated he had $11.9 million with Anthony Beauvillier and Ilya Sorokin to re-sign and without including Parise, Palmieri, Zajac and Cizikas.
Lamoriello could be trying to discourage offer sheets to Beauvillier or Sorokin. Perhaps he's planning a big move for someone like Tarasenko. Maybe he's focused on finding a suitable replacement for Leddy. Whatever he's got up his sleeve, we'll likely have to wait until close to the start of training camp in September to find out.