As we head into NHL All-Star Weekend, the time has come for general managers around the league to decide; are they going to be buyers or sellers. The New York Islanders should most definitely be buyers.
New York Islanders GM Garth Snow has been taking some serious heat as of late. His inactivity in the trade market has drawn the ire of the Isles’ faithful. This team is on the precipice of doing major damage once the playoffs roll around. If they can make an effective move, it could put them over the top.
Throughout the season, the Islanders roster has seen quite a bit of change. As key cogs went down with injuries, the Isles front office decided that getting their stable of young, talented prospects some NHL-level experience was more valuable to the New York Islanders than winning now.
In their defense, Garth & Co. made these decisions at a time when the New York Islanders were among the cream of the crop in the Metro Division. The prospects that were recalled performed admirably, as a group. There were some standout performances, as well as some disappointing ones.
New York Islanders Prospects Called On to Save the Day
New York Islanders rookie defenseman Sebastian Aho has taken giant leaps since making his NHL debut earlier this month. His play since joining the Isles has solidified head coach Doug Weight‘s confidence in the young blueliner. Aho has been impressive alongside Adam Pelech on the second pairing.
Of course, we would be remit to leave Anthony Beauvillier out of this conversation. Of the group of Islanders prospects who have contributed to keeping this team afloat during a rough couple of months, Beau has arguably done the most. Beauvillier’s rapid improvement since being recalled after a demotion to Bridgeport was unexpected, yet very much appreciated.
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There have also been a few call-ups that just haven’t performed capably enough to warrant keeping them here once the injured return to action.
Michael Dal Colle and Tanner Fritz, while both having bright futures ahead of them, simply aren’t ready for this level of play yet. Obviously, once Andrew Ladd and Shane Prince return from the IR, they’ll both be back in Bridgeport.
What realistic trades could New York Islanders GM Garth Snow make?
Even with the improved play of Adam Pelech, Thomas Hickey, Ryan Pulock, and Scott Mayfield, the Isles still need a proven defenseman to keep pace in the East. I suggest the Islanders make a move for the expiring contract of Luke Schenn of the Arizona Coyotes.
Schenn has performed at high levels in the past and wouldn’t cost the Islanders much at all. The Isles could even throw in a little extra and possibly pry away Antti Raanta, as well. Raanta would be a huge upgrade, no doubt. The Coyotes are most definitely shopping both.
Trading away the expiring contract of Jaroslav Halak could make this all the more appealing to Arizona. His value is higher than it’s been all season. He’s made significant strides over the past two weeks and capped off the “first half” of the year with a shining performance last night in Las Vegas.
Here’s what a trade for Schenn and Raanta could look like:
Or maybe New York Islanders GM Garth Snow should go in another direction. One that involves acquiring a proven, veteran, top-four defenseman while not having to give away the farm for what would virtually be a rental in Schenn. This trade-of-all-trades was already proposed here last week.
Although he’s only under team control through next season, the New York Islanders should mortgage their future and throw this franchise into hyperdrive by trading for All-Star defenseman Oliver-Ekman Larsson. In a perfect world, the successes this franchise would enjoy with OEL on board would, in turn, convince him to re-sign long-term.
Of course, this all rests in the hands of Garth Snow. So, yikes.