The New York Islanders had high hopes this season and looked like serious contenders in the Metropolitan Division at the trade deadline. The Islanders even went out and were active at the trade deadline, suggesting that they were going to go for it, trading a first, two seconds and a conditional third-round pick to pick up center Jean-Gabriel Pageau and defenseman Andy Greene.
Suddenly, however, the Islanders have struggled, losing six straight and going 2-5-3 in their past 10 games, and sliding out of the top three in the Metro. The Islanders now are hanging onto a wild card spot and if the team cannot figure things out, they could easily slide out of the playoffs. Newsday’s Andrew Gross writes that falling out of the playoffs would be a disaster for the Islanders.
The scribe adds that there would be a lot of question marks if that happens and wonders if the team needs to add a star forward in the offseason to give the team a boost in the future. One possibility would be trying to sign soon-to-be unrestricted free agent Taylor Hall away from Arizona. Hall spent the past three and a half years in the New York area and if the Islanders can find the cap room, make him a significant offer.
- The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch writes that Ottawa Senators defenseman Ron Hainsey is a strong candidate to re-sign with the club this offseason. The 38-year-old blueliner, who signed a one-year, $3.5MM contract with Ottawa last summer, has spent the season paired with Thomas Chabot, mentoring the young defenseman. Hainsey has one goal and 11 points this season, but more importantly carries a plus-10 rating on a weak Ottawa squad and is a personal favorite of coach D.J. Smith, who got to know him when he was an assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
- TVA’s Renaud Lavoie reports that Montreal Canadiens winger Jonathan Drouin has skated several times this week. The 24-year-old has been out most recently with an ankle injury that has already waylaid him for three games and there still remains no timetable on when he will return. Drouin has not been able to stay healthy this season, being held to just 27 games this year due to various injuries. He currently has seven goals and 15 points.
- The Columbus Blue Jackets will have a decision to make soon on one of they draft picks, Carson Meyer, who is wrapping up his senior season with Ohio State University. The 22-year-old is having a breakout season with 17 goals and 31 points, but Columbus must decide if they want to offer the 2017 sixth-round pick a NHL contract. The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline (subscription required) writes the team might sign Meyer to a professional tryout agreement with the Cleveland Monsters to see how the forward might fare at the professional level before making a final decision. He also will become an unrestricted free agent in August of this year.