The Islanders are 100% healthy heading into the 2021-22 season, president and general manager Lou Lamoriello confirmed.
Captain Anders Lee will be ready for opening night after suffering an ACL injury that ended his 2021 campaign in March, which prompted Lamoriello to acquire Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac from the New Jersey Devils ahead of the trade deadline.
Lee was skating and practicing as the Islanders advanced to a second-straight Stanley Cup semifinal back in June, but his rehab did not progress quickly enough to get him back on the ice for one final push against the eventual champion Lightning.
Third-line winger and special-teams extraordinaire, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, is also ready for opening night after he underwent hand surgery shortly after the playoffs in June.
Lamoriello also revealed that fourth-line stalwart Matt Martin had surgery to repair “a minor chip” in his ankle.
The trio, along with the rest of the NHL roster, has been vaccinated, according to Lamoriello, who didn’t give his players much of a choice.
“We will not allow any player in our organization to participate unless they’re vaccinated,” he said, adding that one minor-league player chose not to receive the vaccine. Plans are being made for him to potentially play in Europe this season.
Three more signings
While much of the talk was centered around the new signings of Zdeno Chara and Zach Parise, Lamoriello put a bow on his impressive offseason by disclosing that goaltender Cory Schneider, along with forwards Michael Dal Colle and Kieffer Bellows, will be under contract for the 2021-22 season.
The three restricted free agents’ futures with the Islanders faced some uncertainty throughout the offseason.
Schneider’s contract is a two-way deal that will likely see him most of the season in Bridgeport — home of the Islanders’ minor-league affiliate — as a No. 3 option behind Semyon Varlamov and Ilya Sorokin.
Both Dal Colle and Bellows will be used as insurance, as well; Dal Colle as a lower-line soldier that lacks a scoring touch but plays Barry Trotz’s system to a tee, and Bellows as a young middle-six option that could add more of an offensive threat if needed.