New York Islanders fans have been calling for GM Garth Snow to make a trade for a top-four defenseman for a long time now. Even if a trade is made, these young Isles defensemen are here to stay.
Everyone and their grandmothers have been waiting for New York Islanders GM Garth Snow to pull the trigger on a trade for a top-line defenseman since they lost Calvin de Haan and Johnny Boychuk to injuries. The steady hum of the fans’ discontent has now grown to a deafening roar.
But even if the Islanders do make a deal for a top-four guy, the Isles young core of defensemen, Scott Mayfield, Adam Pelech, Ryan Pulock, and Sebastian Aho are likely going to remain in the Islanders’ long-term plans.
The Islanders recently signed Mayfield and Pelech to contract extensions, both at team-friendly salaries. It’s more than likely that Ryan Pulock will be the next Isles defenseman to earn an extension. These youngsters are not valid replacements for Boychuk or de Haan, though.
New York Islanders are one move away from making huge steps on D
They are, however, currently playing well enough to add some stability and talent to the New York Islanders bottom defensive pairings. The Isles would be significantly upgrading their defensive corps if they could indeed make a deal for a top-two guy to pair with Nick Leddy.
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Over the past few months, multiple names have been thrown out by fans and pundits alike as possible trade targets. If the New York Islanders could land an Oliver Ekman-Larsson or Tyson Barrie it would be a home run.
If that does happen, Johnny Boychuk (whenever he’s healthy, of course) could pair up with Scott Mayfield on the second pairing and, boom, the Islanders have a quality, albeit not ideal, top-four.
Then, by sticking Adam Pelech and Ryan Pulock together on the third pairing, the Islanders would have experience and talent on each line.
Sebastian Aho could then develop without the added pressure of having to replace a big name in the top-four, as he’s currently doing. Aho and Thomas Hickey would assume the bottom defensive pair, or the seventh and eighth d-man role, shoring up the remaining holes in the New York Islanders defensive corps.
So, what will the New York Islanders do?
What will the New York Islanders do? They’ve held on in the wild-card race for as long as they possibly can. The Islanders patchwork D will not continue to hold down the fort. The Isles will find themselves at home come April if Garth Snow doesn’t do something about the defense, and soon.
Johnny Boychuk has been skating with the team recently while trying to return from a stint on injured reserve. But even when he comes back, will he be the effective top-two defenseman that he’s been for the Islanders? It’s certainly possible, but to expect that would be narrow-minded.
It would also be detrimental to the Isles chances of reaching the postseason. All of this points to only one logical solution for Garth Snow. Make a trade for a top-four defenseman. Overpay if you must! You’ve hoarded an entire roster’s worth of talented prospects and enough high draft picks to last this franchise a decade.
Snow has to use those assets in order to take advantage of the quickly-closing window of opportunity that the New York Islanders are currently facing. If he doesn’t do something soon, not only will he be out of a job, that window could close with the departure of John Tavares.