With the trade deadline now just a few days away, we continue our closer look at the situation for each team. Where do they stand, what do they need to do, and what assets do they have to fill those needs? Next up is a look at the New York Islanders.
The New York Islanders know that time is running out for them. The team is doing everything it can to re-sign their franchise player John Tavares, but as the offseason seems to be getting closer and closer, the Islanders are also find themselves battling for one of the final playoff spots and are currently on the outside looking in. With a struggling defense and a goaltending tandem that leave a lot to be desired, the Islanders must feel a sense of urgency to make some changes in hopes they can fix their team enough to vault them into the playoffs. While making the playoffs is no guarantee they can extend Tavares, missing the playoffs certainly won’t help either.
29-26-7, sixth in the Metropolitan Division
Deadline Cap Space
$4,381,086 in deadline cap space
45/50 contracts per CapFriendly
2018: NYI 1st, CAL 1st, NYI 2nd, CAL 2nd, NYI 3rd, NYI 4th, NYI 5th, NYI 7th
2019: NYI 1st, CAL 2nd*, NYI 5th, NYI 6th, NYI 7th
*If the Flames miss the playoffs in 2018, the Islanders receive a 2019 second-round pick. If the Flames make the 2018 playoffs, then the Islanders get a 2020 second-round pick.
While defense is a big weakness on this team, the biggest trade chip this team has are the picks they received from trading defenseman Travis Hamonic to the Calgary Flames in the offseason. The team has Calgary’s first and second-round picks and could dangle those assets along with their own picks and some of the Islanders young talent such as Joshua Ho-Sang or Anthony Beauvillier. The team could also consider moving some of their pending unrestricted free agents such as Thomas Hickey or Dennis Seidenberg, but would probably need a defenseman back before they weaken their defense even further. Jaroslav Halak’s expiring contract could be a piece in upgrading in goal.
Desperate for defense, the team already unloaded a third-round pick to acquire defenseman Brandon Davidson, but the team has allowed the most goals in the NHL this season as they have allowed 223 goals this season. Injuries to defenseman like Johnny Boychuk and Calvin de Haan haven’t helped, but the team needs to solidify its defense if they want to make a playoff run. Don’t be surprised if the team tries to grab a quality defenseman to stabilize their blueline core.
While you can’t blame the goaltenders for everything as the defense doesn’t help out Halak or backup Thomas Greiss, the Islanders are desperately in need of a shakeup in the pipes. With Halak’s contract about to expire, could the team try to upgrade and bring in a Robin Lehner or an Aaron Dell in hopes that one of them might decrease the amount of goals that are getting past them?
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.