Islanders Must Protect Long-Term Assets Due to John Tavares Situation

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 16: Scott Darling
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 16: Scott Darling /

The New York Islanders are off to a strong start to the season. So much so, some hockey experts have said the Isles should do a “go all in” trade. I don’t think so. The Islanders must protect their long-term assets due to the Tavares situation.

All fans of the New York Islanders want to see this team take the next step and become a big-time contender for the Stanley Cup. Yours truly would love to see it but at the same time, General Manager, Garth Snow must be smart and protective of his cupboard of young players in the organization.

The Talk

In this past Sunday’s New York Post, Larry Brooks’ weekly league column stated the Isles should do a trade where they throw all their chips to the middle of the table. Brooks suggested the Isles land Oliver Ekman-Larsson from the Arizona Coyotes.

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Brooks states the Isles need to put a package together of whatever it takes to bring Larsson to the Isles. He proposed the Isles trade one of their highly-valued first-round picks in 2018 (they have their own & Calgary’s), along with Josh Ho-Sang, Ryan Pulock, and Brock Nelson.

Larsson, by the way, is only signed through next season and then becomes an unrestricted free agent.

Due to the current contract status of John Tavares, the Isles cannot make such a move.

Big Picture

Landing a player like Larsson would be a great move but it can’t be at the expense of the long-term health of the Isles organization. As everyone knows Tavares becomes a UFA at season’s end. While many believe Tavares will most likely stay with the Isles, Snow has to be prepared for a worst-case scenario.

Trading a massive package for a player who is only signed for a short period of time is not a road the Isles can go down, especially with their franchise players long-term status uncertain.

Even if the Isles signed Tavares to an extension making such a trade that Brooks proposed is extremely dangerous. Islander fans must realize the pair of first-round picks in the upcoming June are extremely valuable.

The 2018 NHL Draft is projected to be a killer draft, in a good way. It’s being compared to 2015. That year, of course, the Isles selected Mathew Barzal with the 16th overall pick and Anthony Beauvillier at 28th overall.

Ho-Sang (age 21) has a good chance to be a 50+ point producer on a yearly basis. Pulock (age 23) can become a second-pairing blueliner who is a force on the power play.

Isles Need to be Smart Traders

Can the Isles trade away some of their future to help the team this year? Of course, they can. However, the Isles cannot give up more than one front-line future asset along with a secondary piece or two.

If there is a deal on the table where the Isles can acquire a player that will help them take a big step forward and it costs one of their first-round picks in June, along with one of their Bridgeport defensemen such as Mitchell Vande Sompel or Parker Wotherspoon, and a mid-round draft pick, no problem.

Next: Barzal on TSN Vancouver

But the Isles can’t consider emptying the vault until at least Tavares is signed. When that happens (knock on wood) the Isles would be wise if they make a big acquisition, that said player has a few years of team control left.

Remember the Isles have the players in-house to become a Cup contender. They can move a big future asset to help the team, just not all of them.