The New York Islanders are about the last organization in the NHL you’ll hear many rumors from, given the tight-lipped nature of any Lou Lamoriello-led front office. Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet though reports that the team is looking for “a scorer,” but doesn’t go into any detail on who they may be targeting.
The Islanders are currently sitting third in the Eastern Conference with 42 points and a 20-7-2 record, but have done it once again on the back of tight defense and solid goaltending. The team ranks among the lowest-scoring groups in the league with just 86 goals for through 29 games, but have limited opponents to just 69 over the same stretch, easily the best in the NHL.
Just like last season, when the team’s leading scorer Mathew Barzal had just 62 points in 82 games, the Islanders under Barry Trotz refuse to sell out for offense and are willing to win with an extremely structured system. That said, there’s always room for a little more skill up front when it gets to the playoffs.
If the Islanders are on the hunt for another forward, they have plenty of ammunition. The team owns all of their draft picks and have several top-end prospects developing in the minors or junior. They also have Joshua Ho-Sang still waiting for a trade out of the organization, though it’s unclear what value if any he has at this point. Arthur Staple of The Athletic (subscription required) recently examined several options both internal and external that could help the team’s forward group, including the complicated scenario that would be acquiring Taylor Hall.
One of the biggest weapons that Lamoriello has at his disposal this season is a simple one–cap space. The Islanders left enough room in the offseason to bring in a potential big name like Artemi Panarin or Sergei Bobrovsky, and have plenty left over after missing on both. The team could easily fit in any of the projected trade deadline rentals with room to spare.