The New York Islanders still need a top-four defenseman. Jack Johnson reportedly wants out of Columbus why not inquire about him?
The New York Islanders won on Saturday against the New York Rangers in their first game back since the bye week. Despite the win, one thing seems like a clear need and that’s defense.
Sure, Garth Snow just recently signed Scott Mayfield to a long-term contract, but he’s not the defensive help they’re really looking for. The Islanders are in need of a top-four d-man, a proven veteran not a kid with upside.
Especially with the injuries to Calvin de Haan and Johnny Boychuk the Islanders lack a productive veteran defenseman. Nick Leddy is fine, we know what he is but after that, it’s mixed with a lot of inexperienced youth and underperforming vets (looking at you Dennis Seidenberg).
The most likely scenario is for the Islanders to address this via a trade. A perfect opportunity may have just presented itself.
Just last week, Jack Johnson reportedly requested a trade out of Columbus. Johnson is set to become a UFA at the year and with negotiations going south with the Blue Jackets Johnson wants out.
This is where Garth Snow and the New York Islanders should come in. The Islanders have a need and so do the Blue Jackets so here’s a proposal to fill both needs. The Islanders are desperate so they might be forced to give up a lot:
What the Islanders Give
The Islanders have only $3.1 million in cap space at the moment. So they’d have to clear some money off their current roster. We’ll start with Brock Nelson, a $2.5 million cap hit, who is having a down year.
Brock is usually a 40 point player. With only 14 points to his name this year, he’s underachieved for the Isles expectations. In this trade, we must take into consideration the Blue Jackets weakness down the middle.
They have Pierre-Luc Dubois playing out of position on the top line, Alexander Wennberg who has just 16 points (4 goals, 12 assists) as the second line center, Lukas Sedlak with seven points as the third line center, and Jordan Schroeder as the fourth line center with only one point in 18 games.
With Brandon Dubinsky out long-term with a facial fracture, the Blue Jackets need depth at the center position.
Brock can serve as the third line center and move over to wing if need be when Dubinsky returns or he can remain the center of the third line. Nelson may also be someone who just needs a change of scenery to reach his potential. At this point I don’t think Isles fans would cry over losing Brock Nelson, well, maybe tears of joy from some.
As for Alan Quine, he can be in the mix to take over the fourth line center role. Again, Columbus is a team destined for the playoffs and they could use some depth in the short term at least to stay afloat in the ultra-competitive Metropolitan Division.
When Garth Snow traded away Travis Hamonic he got two seconds and a first rounder for him. Most assumed that Garth would flip some of the picks in a trade at a later date. Now’s the time. Throw in a first and a second and address a desperate need for this team. You can’t afford to put off going for it another year with the Tavares contract looming this offseason.
Then finally, Parker Wotherspoon is a former fourth-round selection by the Islanders back in 2015. While the Blue Jackets are giving up a defenseman they can take a 20-year old back to have in their system to see if he pans out. With Ryan Pulock, Devon Toews, Sebastian Aho, Robin Salo, and Mitch Vande Sompel in the system as well they can afford to give off a defensive prospect.
What the Islanders Get
The Islander are receiving a former 40 point scorer. He’s three years removed from that 40 point season but at 31 years old I think it’s safe to say that we know what Johnson is at this point in his career, he’s a dependable defenseman.
Johnson is a very good skater, a physical presence, which the Isles desperately need, and he’s got some offensive upside. He’s a vet d-man that the Islanders could use plus they also get a fourth-round pick back in the 2019 season because they don’t have one.
Jack Johnson may be a rental but you cross that bridge when you come to it in the offseason when it comes to extensions. I think it’s time to overpay in a trade, get some reputable people in here to steady the ship and make a real run at making the playoffs and making some noise.
That doesn’t happen with the current defensive group. You have Mat Barzal, Nick Leddy, John Tavares, Josh Bailey and Anders Lee essentially making peanuts for their actual value. Now’s as good of a chance as ever to take a kick at the can.
We know how good the offense can be, the Islanders just need to address the blue line. This is a perfect way to do so.