Maybe Cal Clutterbuck isn’t a good enough winger for John Tavares — who knew? In a piece for Newsday, Arthur Staple reports that the New York Islanders are looking for an upgrade on offense, and have been scouring the league for possible options. Staple mentions the Colorado Avalanche as a possible trade partner, as their struggles mirror those found in New York. While Matt Duchene’s name is bandied about, the possibility of that kind of a blockbuster still seems far-fetched.
The Islanders sit last in the Metropolitan Division and have scored just 2.5 goals per game, a big drop from the 2.83 they scored last season. While that drop-off could have been partially expected after the departures of Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen to free agency, big ticket signing Andrew Ladd has been a disaster for the Isles, relegated to the fourth line at times. His three points in 16 games lends credence to the idea that he was always more of a secondary-scoring type playing in excellent situations.
While no one is questioning Ladd’s work ethic or leadership qualities, it’s quite telling that Clutterbuck and Josh Bailey have been skating with Tavares over him. It’s not clear where the next wave of offense is expected to come from though, as youngsters Ryan Strome and Anthony Beauvillier have each scored just five points through the first part of the season. In Staple’s article, he mentions Josh Ho-Sang and Michael Dal Colle as potential additions; both are skating with Bridgeport of the AHL at the moment and finding varying degrees of success. Ho-Sang though has apparently caught whatever Ladd has, and has seen his playing time reduced and was even a healthy scratch on Friday night.
If Garth Snow, who is in Toronto at the annual GM meetings, decides to look elsewhere he’ll need to be careful not to mortgage the team’s future in pursuit of something that may not be able to be found. A single player, while clearly helpful, may not be able to turn around what has been a disaster of a season so far. If one were to listen to Islanders’ fans, it’s a problem with the head coach Jack Capuano and not the players. Staple reiterates what many others have said however, that Capuano is in no danger of losing his job – for now.
Duchene, while an interesting option, would surely cost a huge haul coming off his first 30 goal season in the NHL. The speedy forward is only 25 still despite having over 500 games of experience and is under contract for two seasons after this at a $6MM AAV. After signing Ladd to a seven year, $38.5MM deal this summer the Islanders are right up against the cap and although they do have some flexibility with LTIR they would likely need to move out some money to bring in an impact forward.
To add a little bit of insult to injury, P.A. Parenteau, the winger New York waived prior to the season is off to a hot start in New Jersey. His five goals would tie him for the lead on the Islanders with Tavares and costs just $1.25MM.