The New York Islanders are trying to climb out of the hole they put themselves in with their 8-10-4 record. There are a number of area’s where the Islanders must improve in if they are going to make a return to the playoffs a reality. Making a pitch for James Van Riemsdyk would be a smart move by Garth Snow.
How good would Van Riemsdyk fit the struggling New York Islanders? So far this year the Islanders are ranked 17th in offense and 28th on the power play. It would also give captain John Tavares the best scoring winger he has ever played with.
Van Riemsdyk so far this year has 10 goals and 19 points. Also, the 27-year old left winger has four power play goals. Last year due to injury Van Riemsdyk only played in 40 games. However, Van Riemsdyk still scored 14 goals and tallied 29 points.
The previous two years the 6’3, 200 lbs winger played full seasons and scored 27 goals in 2014-15 and 30 goals (career high) in 2013-14. He also has been a strong player on the power play.
Van Riemsdyk is signed through the 2017-18 season with an annual salary cap number of $4.25 million. Following the 2017-18 season, Van Riemsdyk would be an unrestricted free agent at the age of 29.
What Would it Take?
The Toronto Maple Leafs are an organization loaded with young talent. However, most of the Leafs young talent is at forward. Yes, Toronto has Morgan Reilly but after that, they are looking to find players to build around their blue line. Keep in mind, according to The Hockey News 2016-17 Yearbook, of Toronto’s top ten prospects only one is a defenseman. That is 19-year old Travis Dermott who is ranked as Toronto’s sixth best prospect.
Given all of the young talented forwards Toronto has in Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, and William Nylander do they want to sign Van Riemsdyk to an expensive long-term deal right before he turns 30? Or would they trade him to help their blue line now and going forward?
The Islanders are a good trading partner for the Leafs. But what would it take to bring Van Riemsdyk to the Islanders? Would a package of Calvin de Haan, Ryan Strome, and Toronto’s choice of Devon Toews or Parker Wotherspoon get it done?
While that is a good offer it probably comes up short. Yes, Van Riemsdyk is only signed through next season but landing a 30-goal scorer is hard to come by. De Haan is a restricted free agent at season’s end and probably will land a $3 million-plus annual contract this off-season. While Strome is still only 23 he is struggling for his second straight year. Toews and Wotherspoon have real good upside but they are just prospects at this point.
That’s why it probably would take Ryan Pulock plus to trade for Van Riemsdyk. Probably Pulock and Strome brings Van Riemsdyk to the Islanders. Yes, Pulock 2013 first-round pick (15th overall) has big upside. But if you want to add an impact player via trade to your hockey team, it’s going to hurt.
Remember the Islanders have blue line built up already with Johnny Boychuk, Nick Leddy, and Travis Hamonic. Even if they lose a defenseman in the expansion draft, the Islanders would still have three of de Haan, Thomas Hickey, Adam Pelech, and Scott Mayfield.
Pulock isn’t the only prospect the Islanders have on defense. In addition, to Toews and Wotherspoon the Isles also have Mitchell Vande Sompel and Doyle Somerby.
Pulock could be a strong defenseman for the next ten years. In fact, after a brief conditional stint with Bridgeport, he should be up with the Islanders now. The Islanders have plenty of prospects the time is now to be bold!