Islanders get younger at defenseman with Romanov addition

After the NHL Draft, free agency and other offseason moves, NHL.com is examining where each team stands ahead of the 2022-23 regular season, which starts on Oct. 7. Today, the New York Islanders:

2021-22 season: 37-35-10, fifth in Metropolitan Division; did not qualify for Stanley Cup Playoffs

Key arrival

Alexander RomanovD: The 22-year-old, who was acquired from the Montreal Canadiens on July 7 for a first-round pick (No. 13) in the 2022 NHL Draft (forward Frank Nazar), had 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) in 79 games last season. Romanov also led the Canadiens in blocked shots (144) and shorthanded time on ice (203:26), and his 227 hits ranked sixth in the NHL at his position.

Video: SEA@MTL: Romanov nets one short side high

Key departures

Zdeno Chara, D: Chara, who is an unrestricted free agent, will decide on his future in September, his agent told The Boston Globe on June 25. Chara had 14 points (two goals, 12 assists) in 72 games last season, his first since rejoining the Islanders ; he played for them his first four NHL seasons (1997-2001). The 45-year-old owns the record for most games played by a defenseman in NHL history (1,680). … Andy Greene, D: Greene, who is also a UFA, had 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in 69 games last season. … Barry Trotz, coach: Trotz was fired May 9 after New York failed to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in his four seasons. He was replaced seven days later by Lane Lambert, who was promoted from associate coach. Trotz is third in NHL history in wins (914) and second in games coached (1,812), behind Scotty Bowman (2,141), and won the Stanley Cup with the Washington Capitals in 2018.

On the cusp

Robin Salo, D: The 23-year-old, who was selected in the second round (No. 46) of the 2017 NHL Draft, could be in line for more ice time after he had five points (one goal, four assists) in 21 games as a rookie last season. Salo also had 20 points (four goals, 16 assists) in 40 games with Bridgeport of the American Hockey League. … Aatu Raty, F: The 19-year-old had 40 points (13 goals, 27 assists) in 41 games last season for Jukurit in Liiga, the top professional league in Finland. Raty, a second-round pick (No. 52) in the 2021 NHL Draft, also had one assisted in six games for Karpat before being traded to Jukurit. … William Dufour, F: The 20-year-old, a fifth-round pick (No. 152) in the 2020 NHL Draft, agreed to a three-year, entry-level contract April 21 after he led the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in goals (56) and was second in points (116). Dufour was also named the most valuable player of the Memorial Cup after scoring a tournament-leading seven goals to help Saint John win the championship. … Simon Holmstrom, F: The 21-year-old, who was selected in the first round (No. 23) of the 2019 NHL Draft, was tied for second in assists (31) and was third in points (43) in 68 games with Bridgeport last season.

What they still need

A scorer to play on the wing with center Mathew Barzal and inject life into an offense that averaged 2.79 goals per game last season, tied with the Buffalo Sabres for 22nd in the NHL. The Islanders also need more speed at defenseman, which Salo could provide if he plays full time.

Video: NYI@NYR: Barzal beats Shesterkin for his 300th point

They said it

“We had an opportunity to get a 22-year-old top-four defenseman. Tremendous character, tremendous competitiveness. We played against him enough to feel that way and know him and recognize what he brought. And he’s growing. [of room] to grow. He has a lot in him potentially to get better.” — general manager Lou Lamoriello on Alexander Romanov

Fantasy focus

Barzal has fantasy bounce-back appeal following the coaching change. He had an NHL career-high 85 points as a rookie in 2017-18, but in the four seasons under Trotz he never had more than 62. Right wing Oliver Wahlstrom is fourth on the Islanders in goals per 60 minutes (0.80, minimum 10 games) over the past two seasons and led them in shots on goal per 60 last season (10.7, minimum 41 games). He has fantasy breakout potential if he earns a spot on a line with Barzal after playing on the third line for much of last season. — Pete Jensen

Video: CBJ@NYI: Wahlstrom doubles lead :11 later on rush

Projected lineup

Anders LeeBrock NelsonAnthony Beauvillier

Josh Bailey — Mathew Barzal — Kyle Palmieri

Zach PariseJean-Gabriel Pageau — Oliver Wahlstrom

Matt MartinCasey CizikasCal Clutterbuck

Adam PelechRyan Pulock

Alexander Romanov — Noah Dobson

Robin Salo — Scott Mayfield

Ilya Sorokin

Semyon Varlamov

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