Management has symbolically given the current roster a vote of confidence by the lack of movement during the offseason, and the expectation from the team is to win now. The players in the dressing room have taken notice of the gesture and they're glad that the front office believes in the assembled squad.
"We all have confidence in each other and the organization has confidence in the guys in the locker room," Anders Lee told Islanders Point Blank on Monday. "That speaks volumes to what we have in here and the leadership we have. It's just nice knowing you get to know a few new guys, but at the same time, everyone has been together a whole extra year. It's just that much more mature and better knowing each other. The chemistry just builds."
Veteran forward Matt Martin was also appreciative of the gesture made by management.
"It's nice. They built the team the way they wanted to build it," Martin said. "I still remember last year when we went through a little bit of a struggle early on in the year. They pretty much told us, 'this is the team so you can figure it out and make the playoffs or wither away.' They have shown a lot of confidence in us as a group and they continue to do that. They like the group we have, we like the group we have and we don't want to see it split up. "I think it's time for us to perform."
Now the pressure is on the Islanders to live up to the vote of confidence from management. During prospect camp in July, Garth Snow told a select group of reporters the time for patience had passed and the team needed to win. It is certainly a sentiment that the fan base is happy to hear.
However, it could be a little harder to do if the Islanders are without young forward Brock Nelson, who remains unsigned as the September 16 deadline looms ever closer. His teammates understand the predicament he is in.
"Those are the kinds of things that as players we don't really have control of," Martin said. "I think we have to remember that it is a business and both sides are trying to get the best deal for them. That's one of those things you just let itself play out and, obviously, we hope he's here. He's a big part of this hockey team."