New York Islanders Need a Strategy for NHL Trade Deadline


The NHL trade deadline is coming up quickly. The New York Islanders need a strategy going into the deadline and the fans have some ideas.

The New York Islanders are going to be sellers at the trade deadline. There’s no question about it right? In 27th place of 30 teams going into the middle of January, the Islanders have little to no hope of making it to the playoffs this season.

And with the Isles right up against the salary there isn’t any room to add without subtracting a significant contract. Unless Arizona is interested in Mikhail Grabovski to fill Chris Pronger‘s spot on LTIR when the former’s contract expires.

Selling is the only option. Well, I guess status quo is also technically an option, but that’s what got the Isles in this hot mess to begin with. So that wouldn’t make any sense now would it?

So the Isles are sellers. What kind of sellers though? Do they turn to the draft to regroup? Is this going to be a fire sale like the Leafs last season? Do they sell to get some help now

What The Fans Think

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The minority of fans want to just tear this thing down to the studs and sell, sell, sell. Like the former host of Mad Money, they’re the mad men (and women) running around just selling assets to any team feigning interest.

I get it. Change. That’s what fans want. They’d rather deal with the unknown, then continue with what they know. At least with the unknown there a chance at a Stanley Cup. What we have now is sputtering out of control and well away from that goal.

But by that same token, there’s also the possibility that it could be worse. It’s hard to image that there’s worse out there. There is. It’s called the Arizona Coyotes. It’s still early in the reign of John Chayka to judge, but it’s not looking great so far. And what came before has been abysmal.

As a strategy for the trade deadline, I’d pass on this one. Any strategy has to have some semblance of a structure to it. Liquidating the team just to “see the world burn” is just going to make things worse.

The Vocal Majority

How about those in the majority? Looking to sell to get draft picks.

It makes sense. Rebuilding an organization in today’s NHL is very much draft-centric. A pool of talent youngsters are both dynamic, faster, malleable, and cheap!

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But a problem with that is the 2017 entry draft is not projected to be very deep. Sure there’s going to be some great NHL talent. But this draft is lining up to be something like the 2007 draft. Some great players, but mainly stocked with average NHL talent.

A draft the Islanders didn’t pick until the third round because they traded for Ryan Smyth and Richard Zednik.

The Islanders are already fairly prospect heavy with the likes of Michael Dal Colle, Josh Ho-Sang and Ryan Pulock, and to an extent Ilya Sorokin out in Russia.

Assuming the strategy here is to kick out some of our vets and bring the kids up instead, then that’s likely another year off Tavares’ career spent waiting for this team to be something. The kids are good, but they won’t push the needle forward in their first NHL season.

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Sell for Help

This is my pick. The Islanders need to make some room for some help now. This sounds like buying. Sure, but in order to buy what the Islanders are looking for they need to sell.

The Islanders have a nice complimentary core of forward. Josh Bailey, Brock Nelson, Anders Lee, Ryan Strome. All four are that middle six type of forward. They’re great depth players, but none are top tier talent.

And that’s what the Islanders need top tier talent to match their elite level captain who’s been dragging this team to new modern day heights ever since he got here.

I’m with that 32%. The Islanders need to sell at the dead line to acquire that talent.

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There are just two empediments to this strategy. The first is finding a buyer. A team looking to offload some top level talent and needs scoring depth. And second is if you trust the current management group to execute that type of deal competently.