New York Islanders: Trading the 1st Round Pick

Mar 28, 2016; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Jordan Eberle (14) looks for a pass against the Anaheim Ducks at Rexall Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 28, 2016; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Jordan Eberle (14) looks for a pass against the Anaheim Ducks at Rexall Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports /

With the draft around the corner, New York Islanders GM Garth Snow has an opportunity to make things interesting.

Perhaps the most interesting comment about the New York Islanders summer thus far is Garth Snow’s consideration of trading the Islanders first round pick. This has the potential to get tongues wagging as well as some salivating for who Snow can flip this pick for.

Some interesting possibilities include Ryan Callahan, Jordan Eberle (or Ryan Nugent Hopkins), and Matt Duchene.

Ryan Callahan

Callahan is perhaps the only “true” veteran on this list. The Tampa Bay Lightning have some long term salary cap issues and Callahan’s 5.8 million AAV is pretty steep. With Steven Stamkos still unsigned and the larger contracts they’ll have to dole out to young talent, some decisions have to be made.

While Steve Yzerman doesn’t seem to be a guy that’s going to do anything unthinkingly, with the draft and free agency coming, something has to give.

Callahan has upside. While his production was down in 2015-2016, he’s a hard working forward with good hands. He’s seen time on second and third lines, penalty kill, and power play. He’s also played with Stamkos. He’s had several 20-goal seasons and his Stanley Cup experience with both the Rangers and Lightning give him an edge in leadership.

Callahan’s downside can be seen in his age. He’s 31 years old and his cap hit is fairly steep for a forward whose offensive production is in decline.

Why he’d be good for the Islanders: leadership, toughness, penalty killing. If the Islander are going to part with Frans Nielsen and Matt Martin, Callahan can step into several of the roles those guys play.

Jordan Eberle or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

The Edmonton Oilers are going to see themselves with CAP issues in the near future when it comes time for Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl to get re-ups. The Oilers have several pricey forwards that haven’t exactly elevated the them into any sort of respectability and the time is coming for them to start unloading.

Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins, while young, have been around a while.  The two are also pretty much interchangeable. They’re both first round picks with Nugent-Hopkins holding the now dubious distinction of being one of the Oilers’ many first overalls.

They’ve both got offensive talent in spades and both bring a 6 million AAV and contract term with Eberle signed through 2019 and Nugent-Hopkins signed through 2020. The downside with either is a larger cap hit for untapped potential.

Why either of them would be good for the Islanders: the talent to play with John Tavares. It seems like a no-brainer but Tavares has been living with a lack of offensive support for about the same years these studs have been beaten down in Edmonton.

Matt Duchene

Matt Duchene is the biggest longshot of this group. The thing about Duchene, though, is Patrick Roy just doesn’t seem to like the guy. It’s actually kind of baffling when Duchene led the team in scoring, hit the 30-goal mark, and is fast fast fast. That’s all forgetting for a second that Duchene is probably the one guy on the team that truly wants to be there.

Duchene’s upside is obvious. He’s a goal scorer. He’s fast. Dig deeper and he has the ability to positively impact players around him.

Duchene’s downside is perhaps less obvious. He was a poor possession player on a dismal possession teama fact that Roy has historically scoffed at. He’s got a 6 million AAV through 2018 so he’s just shy of being a rental and it will more than likely take more than just a first round pick to get him.

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Why he’d be good for the Islanders is the aforementioned upside. He’s fast with great hands. He’s got the talent to not only play with Tavares but elevate him. He’s a natural center so if he wasn’t top line, he’d take the second line into a whole other stratosphere. And if the power play can’t improve with the addition of this guy, then truly only Stamkos or Lucic is going to make a difference.