The New York Islanders are clearly searching for some help up front in this playoff push. We’ve all heard the names being thrown around, and have some favorites. But one would be truly terrible.
Most fans think the New York Islanders should be willing to give a substantial package for a bonafide star like Matt Duchene. I agree. He solves the problem on the power play, in the face-off circle, in secondary scoring, and helps team speed.
And I would have a varying degree of interest in several other players that are seemingly on the trade block. Gabriel Landeskog is not in a position of need, and he is having a poor year, but for the right price, sure.
New York Islanders
Though I’m probably in the minority, I’d consider Jordan Staal as well. There’s a middle six center along with Strome this year, and maybe Barzal next year, that would provide strength up the middle.
I wrote an article in pre-season that the perfect get for the Islanders would be Jeff Carter. There hasn’t been any inkling he is moving, but I’m sticking with the notion that he would fit well.
But the one guy that who’s name got tossed around yesterday, that made me stop in my tracks, was Jordan Eberle. And it’s odd because the Isles could clearly use an upgrade at right wing. So we should welcome this, right?
Not in my mind. Eberle is soft on the puck and a defensive liability. The soft on the puck winger position is currently filled for the Isles. So that’s not a glaring need. If you theorize that Bailey won’t move off of Tavares’ line this season, where does Eberle play?
Because in other years, when he was on the first line (with Hall and MacDavid for half of last year, with Hall and Nugent-Hopkins in previous years) he produced at about a 25 goal pace. But without a first line assignment, he is on a 15 goal pace this year.
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What you give up for a soft, 15 goal winger, making $6 million dollars for this year and in each of the following two? He is scoring fewer points than Bailey and Lee, has fewer goals than Ladd, Chimera, Nelson. Strome is about to pass him and Kulemin, for gosh sakes, is only two behind.
I can’t see giving up Hamonic for that. Certainly not Barzal or Pulock. Not a first round draft pick. But here’s the kicker, I don’t think I’d give up Prince or Quine either. Oh, Eberle is lightyears ahead of them, and would improve the Islander roster in a vacuum. But that six million dollar hit, for a middle six winger, scoring 15 goals is appalling.
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I prefer to stick with what is already on the roster.
I shake with even greater fear when I think about who Eberle’s center might be. Would he play with Strome and Nelson? That line would be way too soft to succeed. I don’t want Barzal coming up next year and having this guy as a mentor. There just isn’t palace for that combination of player and contract.
Additionally, if you give up real assets for this guy, pay him the $14 million dollars he is due over the next two and a quarter seasons, then what? He reaches free agency and wants a raise? Seven million for this guy? No thank you.
Why Staal, who has the same six minion dollar AAV, for a few extra years, and less goals, but not Eberle? Easy. Jordan Staal is a center, and a giant one, who plays hard on every inch of the ice surface. For six million dollars that player has to fill a clear and present need. Staal does, and Eberle doesn’t.
You know who else might be better than Eberle as a pickup? Paul Stasny. Stastny will make $7 million dollars next year. The St Louis Blues can not possibly look forward to paying that for his 15 goals and 20 assists.
Stastny only has that one year left. It’s a perfect bridge to a full-time Barzal. And the $7 million is a huge payment. But it’s only $2.5 million more than Halak who you might be able to include in the deal.
What does St Louis get out of it? Hope in goal, and cap space for next season. Maybe even enough to sign Shattenkirk?
And no, I would not protect him in the expansion draft. He won’t get taken with that contract, but if he did, GREAT! That would mean all the Islanders lost in the expansion draft was Halak. Wouldn’t you take that deal?