February 17, 2019 | 9:50am ET



Lou Lamoriello, GM


The New York Islanders sit atop the Metropolitan Division with a five-point lead over the second-place Washington Capitals and continue to exceed expectations as the season progresses.

Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello has been impressed with his team’s performance this season and it has been widely reported that he’s exploring the trade market for outside assistance – TFP has reported the Isles are willing to part with their first-round draft pick in a package for the right player.

Lamoriello acknowledged being active, but downplayed his search for extra fire power in an interview with NHL.com.

“The communication between teams, no matter what your needs might be or what you might be looking for, you want to know exactly what’s going on in the League, so communication does not change,” he said. “It does rev up certainly as you get close to the deadline, for whatever reason. You take as much time as you possibly can. Right now, we’ll just see how things come out.”

If the right deals don’t present themselves, Lamoriello seems more than fine riding down the stretch with the current group that the team’s iced all season.

“I’m very comfortable with this hockey team,” Lamoriello said. “I think the commitment that they’ve made to each other to have success and the amount of respect they have for each other and how happy they are because we’ve had a different person each and every night come forward to do what’s necessary.”

The Islanders have been linked to Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Artemi Panarin, Ottawa Senators forwards Matt Duchene and Mark Stone, Minnesota Wild centre Eric Staal, and Detroit Red Wings winger Gustav Nyquist, among others — all of whom are on TFP’s Top 30 Trade Watch List.

In addition to the team’s first-round pick, the Islanders are also believed to be dangling such young prospects as Josh Ho-Sang, Sebastian Aho, Michael Dal Colle, who is currently with the big club, and Kieffer Bellows.

The Islanders reportedly had interest in veteran Brian Boyle before the New Jersey Devils traded him to the Nashville Predators, and the team has discussed Los Angeles Kings sniper Ilya Kovalchuk, though it’s unclear if the two teams have engaged in any serious talks.