With the trade deadline now just days away, we continue to take a closer look at each team. Where do they stand, what do they need to do, and what assets do they have to fill those needs?
The New York Islanders entered this season with renewed hope and optimism. Fresh off the team’s first playoff series victory since 1993, the Islanders were poised to challenge the Metropolitan Division titans for division supremacy. Instead, the Islanders fell flat and are only now making up for their slow start. It took a coaching change to spark the Islanders, and it might have been too little too late. The team currently sits one point out of a wildcard spot and faces a tough decision. Do they acquire help at the deadline to make a playoff push, or do they stand pat?
29-22-10, 5th in the MetropolitanDivision
Deadline Cap Space
$6,953,607 with 45/50 contracts per CapFriendly
2017: NYI 1st, NYI 2nd, NYI 3rd, NYI 5th, NYI 7th
2018: NYI 1st, NYI 2nd, NYI 3rd, NYI 4th, NYI 5th, NYI 6th, NYI 7th
The Islanders are not working with much. They only have five draft picks this year, and only a couple of worthwhile prospects covered by other teams. Because the Islanders don’t look like they will acquire any rentals, they’ll have to part with players and prospects to receive any assets in return. Prospects Josh Ho-Sang and Mathew Barzal will garner the most attention, but it may be unwise for the Islanders to reduce their already slim prospect pipeline during a year where the Metropolitan Division is dominating the NHL.
The other major chip is Jaroslav Halak. Since being sent down to the AHL Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Halak has posted excellent stats, earning a 1.96 GAA and a .932 SV% in 17 games. The NHL goaltender market is almost non-existent—especially after the Ben Bishop trade—but there might be a GM out there willing to take a chance on a Halak resurgence.
Three Players To Watch For: G Jaroslav Halak, F Mathew Barzal, F Joshua Ho-Sang
The team needs top-six forwards. Losing Frans Nielsen and Kyle Okposo in the offseason has affected the Islanders and they have not been able to replace the departing players’ production. Moreover, with John Tavares an unrestricted free agent after next season, the Islanders will need to show him that they are willing to invest in the short-term future.
The Isles have been linked to Matt Duchene, but may not have the asset pool available to pull the trigger. The Tampa Bay Lightning’s Tyler Johnson might be a more suitable target, but his availability would depend on whether Tampa Bay plans to make a playoff run this season.