During an interview on Wednesday, Nikita Kucherov voiced his displeasure with the Tampa Bay Lighting, which brings up a perfect opportunity for the New York Islanders to get the winger they’ve been waiting for.
It all went down in an interview 10,000 miles away, in Russia. In an interview with a Russian newspaper (original Russian, here’s a breakdown in English), Nikita Kucherov took a shot at the Lightning, saying that they “took their money and walked away” when Steven Stamkos got injured, causing them to miss the playoffs. He also complained about how the lines were shifted so often that he couldn’t create chemistry with any linemates.
After voicing this much displeasure, it is likely that Kucherov wants out of Tampa Bay, and honestly, the New York Islanders are the perfect team for him. If Garth Snow makes the move to get him, the trade will most definitely benefit both sides.
Why Kucherov Would Benefit
The New York Islanders are a team that could provide Nikita Kucherov with exactly what he’s been looking for, and the last six games of this season undoubtedly show for it.
While John Tavares was injured, nobody on this New York Islanders team played with any quit, ending their season on a six-game winning streak without their fallen star. Nobody on our team just took their money and walked away this year, playing with heart until the very end.
New York Islanders
The New York Islanders would also be able to provide him with solid linemates, most likely pairing him up with John Tavares and Joshua Ho-Sang on a line that could set the league on fire.
With Ho-Sang’s amazing playmaking ability, John Tavares’ all around star power, and Nikita Kucherov’s amazing shot, Nikita Kucherov will have the perfect linemates to keep him satisfied for the entire season.
Why the Islanders Would Benefit
Adding Nikita Kucherov to this New York Islanders roster will help create one of the deadliest teams in the NHL. As the Metropolitan division is arguably the strongest division in the league, the New York Islanders need to add one more piece to compete with the great teams in our division.
As the Metropolitan division is arguably the strongest division in the league, the New York Islanders need to add one more piece to compete with the great teams in our division.
Nikita Kucherov is just that guy for us. Being the scoring winger that John Tavares has needed for his entire career, as well as being on a line with arguably the best passer I’ve ever seen in Joshua Ho-Sang.
Kucherov, who was a 40-goal-scorer last year, has the potential to create a line that could absolutely destroy the NHL. And, more importantly, could lead the New York Islanders to the Stanley Cup.
What the Islanders Would Have to Give Up
The Tampa Bay Lightning wouldn’t just give the 23-year-old superstar up for free, but the New York Islanders most definitely have the assets to make a deal to get him. The New York Islanders would also be able to solve a problem they’ll face entering the expansion draft.
The first piece of the trade would be Travis Hamonic, a defenseman who has enough trade value to convince a team to trade for him.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have a dire need of defensemen, and Travis Hamonic could be that guy. Hamonic has been a solid stay at home defenseman who is on a cap-friendly contract which helps the Tampa Bay Lightning save money to keep a guy like Tyler Johnson.
The second piece of this trade would be 23-year-old Ryan Strome. Strome was a former 5th overall pick who hasn’t panned out so well for the New York Islanders but could use a change of scenery to get his career going.
If paired with the right linemates in Tampa, Strome could have a career season and get his young career back on the right path. Strome would also be on a cap friendly contract for the Tampa Bay Lightning earning just $2.5 Million over the next two seasons.
Lastly, the New York Islanders would need to give up their first round pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. Barring a miracle lottery win, the 15th overall pick would have mid-tier value, which would just be the Tampa Bay Lightning’s cherry on top for this deal.
No matter how this trade goes, both the New York Islanders and Nikita Kucherov would greatly benefit from this deal, and maybe, just maybe, it’ll lead the New York Islanders to their first Stanley Cup since 1983.