With an opportunity to strengthen his team for a playoff run, Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello opted to hold onto all of his chips and stand pat with the group that currently leads the Metropolitan Division.
Lamoriello seems to be taking the position that sometimes the best move is the one you don't make.
"We went into this trade deadline with several areas that if potentially we could address, we would," Lamoriello said. "But we weren't going to get into a situation where we sacrificed what our plan is, because we feel very good about this hockey team."
Lamoriello has every right to feel good about an Islanders club which has surprised everyone around the league, including themselves, and it's hard to argue against his track record. It's certainly understandable if Lamoriello balked at giving up the significant assets it would've taken to bring in Matt Duchene or Mark Stone from Ottawa.
But there were moves to be made that wouldn't have mortgaged the Isles' future. Forwards such as Gustav Nyquist and Marcus Johansson were dealt for multiple draft picks, but neither fetched a first-rounder or a prospect.
For better or worse, the club believes Andrew Ladd and Thomas Hickey returning from injury will essentially feel like deadline acquisitions. Ladd, 33, had just 12 goals in 73 games last season and has three goals in 14 games this season. Ladd has been out for more than three months with a lower-body injury. Hickey has been out for more than two months with an upper-body injury.
"You have to be extremely careful at this time because whenever you add somebody, it takes away from somebody else and somebody moves in a different spot," Lamoriello said. "You don't do something just for the sake of doing it. We're extremely pleased at where we are."
Barry Trotz has helped make the Islanders the stingiest team in the NHL in terms of goals allowed. The goaltending duo of Robin Lehner and Thomas Greiss has been stellar. The Isles could've used some added scoring punch up front.
Instead of fortifying the squad, though, Lamoriello is going to ride it out with the group that has been getting it done all season, believing in the chemistry of the team.
"To be perfectly honest and frank, I don't think anybody standing here could've put on a piece of paper that we'd be standing here at the trade deadline in the position we are in the league," Lamoriello said. "I think that certainly your play, that is the play of the team, determines what your actions are at this time of the year."