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New York Islanders: Analyzing Oliver Ekman-Larsson Trade Rumor

By Matt O'Leary
PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 30: Oliver Ekman-Larsson
PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 30: Oliver Ekman-Larsson /
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The New York Islanders have had one of the leagues most explosive offenses this year, but have struggled defensively. One New York writer came up with a solution.

The New York Islanders have gotten off to a 14-7-2 start to their season, good enough for third in the Metropolitan Division, mostly due to their explosive offense. Through 23 games they already have five players with over 20 points. That’s impressive stuff, as the team’s just passed the first quarter of the season.

One thing the Islanders have to clean up is their goals allowed. They’re third in the league with 83 goals for which is fantastic, but they’ve allowed 73 goals which is ninth most in the league.

There’s a bit of a debate whether or not it’s the goaltending or defense that needs to be fixed. The goaltending has been pretty poor, although thankfully Jaroslav Halak played much better last night in their 2-1 win over Ottawa.

But finding a better goalie doesn’t seem as reasonable as finding a defenseman. We had this debate on our latest podcast, but I think acquiring another defenseman would be worthwhile.

So does the New York Post’s Larry Brooks who proposed the Islanders trade for star defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

Brooks proposed that they would have to part ways with Josh Ho-Sang/Anthony Beauvillier, Brock Nelson, Ryan Pulock/Scott Mayfield and one of their first-round picks. That seems like an extremely high price to pay, but let’s take a look at Ekman-Larsson.

Gotham Sports’ James Duffy broke it down quite nicely:

So the Islanders would be getting a player under their control for one more year after this at a reasonable cap number. The fact that he has played at such a high level for a cellar-dweller Coyotes team should speak volumes as well.

In all likelihood, Ekman-Larsson won’t re-sign with the Coyotes when his deal is up. It looks like this will be the sixth straight year Arizona misses the playoffs so what’s the point of hanging around?

Bad teams are always looking for picks to try to develop a core group of players on the cheap. That’s where Garth Snow can take advantage with the picks he got for Travis Hamonic.

Instead of the trade, Brooks proposed what about something like this?

The Islanders have two first round and two second-round picks to play with. They’re no longer a rebuilding team who needs the picks. They need to go for it, and a move like this would be Garth Snow going for it this year.

Right now the Islanders look like a playoff team as is, but if you add OEL to the mix look how scary your lineup could be:

Forwards:

Lee – Tavares – Bailey

Ladd – Barzal – Eberle

Chimera – Beauvillier – Ho-Sang

Quine – Cizikas – Clutterbuck

Defense:

Leddy – Boychuk

Ekman-Larsson – de Haan

Pelech – Hickey

Seidenberg and Mayfield as scratches

Goalies:

Greiss/Halak

Outside of the goalie position, that’s a really strong looking lineup. Your top-six is untouched, which is the biggest key to the trade proposal. Essentially, you lost an underperforming and frustrating Brock Nelson, a prospect who is underachieving so far (Ryan Pulock) and two picks (Travis Hamonic) for an elite defenseman.

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If it’s Brooks’ proposal I would be hesitant to pull the trigger, but if the proposal is based around picks like what I proposed I think I’m pulling the trigger and opening my championship window right now.

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