New York Islanders: How To Make Play For Jonathan Marchessault
The New York Islanders don’t have depth at center. After John Tavares the drop off down the middle is steep. How can the Isles make a play for Vegas Golden Knights new boy Jonathan Marchessault?
The New York Islanders largest need in terms of their roster is strength down the middle. They have John Tavares, but after him, it’s a who’s who of “maybe it’ll work”.
Mathew Barzal is likely the best candidate, but with only two NHL games under his belt and being admittedly “star struck” for those two games, I get why some people hesitate with proclaiming him as the solution down the middle.
The Islanders have been chasing Matt Duchene for what seems like a life time, but at this point, Avalanche GM Joe Sakic is sticking to his ask. Whatever that might be. So I think, take a pass on Duchene, give Barzal the second line role.
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But that still leaves a third line to be centered by Brock Nelson. I think at this point in his NHL career, Nelson has shown he can’t play center. He’s a winger. There’s nothing wrong with that. Nelson has a great wrist shot, sending him down the flank with an open lane is his bread-and-butter. Just watch this OT winner against Toronto.
So how do the Isles address that third-line center role? There aren’t any readily available options out on the market, but I think that a play for Vegas Golden Knights Jon Marchessault.
The easy case for Marchessault is he’s 30 goal scorer. In but his third season in the NHL the 26-year-old put up 51 points with those aforementioned 30 goals and 21 assists for the Florida Panthers. And all that for $750,000 against the salary cap.
He’s prolific, at least for a season, and is as cheap as they come. That’s the appeal.
But with a December 1990 birth date, Marchessault will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. What’s the likelihood of him wanting to stay with a rebuilding Vegas team?
How Do They Make The Trade?
We know that the Golden Knights want to build their team through the Entry Draft. So whatever package the Islanders offer to George McPhee it has to include a draft pick.
In this trade scenario, the Golden Knights get three things they can use. A guaranteed 20 goal scorer and a player that still has a year of team control, so they don’t have to worry about him running away at the end of the season.
And, some would say, more importantly, another draft pick to add to their arsenal. Going into the 2018 draft the Golden Knights have but their own picks. We know they’ll want more. They can take their pick of the New York Islanders or the Calgary Flames second round pick in 2018.
With the Isles, he could play with the likes of Andrew Ladd and Jason Chimera on the third line. Both established and now comfortable NHL vets, who with Marchessault could very well be that perfect insulator for the “kid line” of Barzal and Ho-Sang.
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The Islanders still take a risk on Marchessault. Who says he puts up another 30 goals? Surround him with the right mix and he might. And who says he doesn’t bolt as a free agent. The Isles aren’t exactly a premier free agent destination. But I think with the right linemates Marchessault could be successful and then be more willing to stay.