With the New York Islanders playoff lives hanging by a thread, let’s take a look at a very key decision for the blue and orange this off-season. Should the Isles consider trading Mathew Barzal in order to land a proven second line center? The answer to that question is a resounding no, as Barzal is off limits.
Mathew Barzal was the 16th overall pick of the 2015 draft. The 6’0, 175 lbs Barzal is an offensive center. He’s a tremendous play maker with terrific skills, speed, creativity, and most of all he makes everyone around him better. He is also a force on the power play which is music to Islander fans ears.
After spending the first month of the season (only played in two games), Barzal was sent back to his WHL team, the Seattle Thunderbirds. Then head coach Jack Capuano never gave Barzal a chance to stick with the Isles.
Once again this season, Barzal dominated for the Thunderbirds. In 41 games the British Columbia native put up 79 points. Last month’s Hockey News, Future Watch Issue had Barzal as the 8th best prospect in the NHL.
Barzal is ready to start his NHL career.
New York Islanders
Unless a very special player becomes available this off-season, Mr.Barzal should be off limits to other clubs. The Islanders should not even trade Barzal straight up to the Colorado Avalanche for Matt Duchene.
No yours truly didn’t just get back from crazy town. In a short period of time, expect Barzal to be as good as Duchene. In fact, Barzal’s ceiling should be considered higher than the third overall pick of 2009.
Also, do not forget the NHL is now a salary cap world. Barzal still has to go through his entire entry-level contract. The Islanders have control over Barzal for the next number of years.
Conversely, Duchene has a $6 million cap hit and is only signed for two more years before becoming an unrestricted free agent.
Keep in mind while the Isles should be aggressive in landing a Matt Duchene, the Colorado center has only scored four more goals than Brock Nelson over the last three seasons.
If teams demand the Islanders include Barzal in any deal, they need to walk away and find another trade partner.
The Islanders can still make major moves this off-season even if Barzal is off limits. The Islanders can trade a forward such as Ryan Strome, Josh Bailey, or Nelson. They can also move a top-four blue liner in either Travis Hamonic or Calvin de Haan.
In addition, because the Islanders deep prospect pool, they could trade a top forward, defenseman, or goalie prospect. The Islanders current farm system can also allow them to trade their 2017 first-round pick as well. Provided the ping pong ball gods don’t give the Isles a top two pick.
The Islanders tradable assets do not start and end with Barzal. Barzal is going to be the Isles top player after John Tavares for many years to come.