New York Islanders Should Trade With Rival Rangers

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 20: Ryan McDonagh
DENVER, CO - JANUARY 20: Ryan McDonagh /

The Rangers and Devils just made a trade, here’s why the New York Islanders and New York Rangers should put rivalries aside and trade.

Last night we saw the New York Rangers trade Michael Grabner to Division rival, and local rival, the New Jersey Devils. If the Rangers and Devils can trade so can the New York Islanders and Rangers, especially because it would benefit both teams.

The Rangers are looking to rebuild and start over to an extent, so many familiar faces have been made available. Captain Ryan McDonagh seems like the perfect fit for the New York Islanders.

The Islanders, who have struggled mightily on defense, could use the benefits of service from a top-four defenseman. McDonagh fits that bill to a tee.

This year, while having a ton of defensive responsibility, McDonagh has 26 points (2 goals, 24 assists). For years now McDonagh has been the face of the Rangers blue line and a stable asset to the team.

Blue Line Station Proposal

So what would it cost to get a pending UFA like Ryan McDonagh? Our colleagues over at Blue Line Station came up with this prosal.

While I think that is a completely fair offer I had something else in mind that could better benefit both teams actually.

Our Proposal

In this scenario, the Islanders still get their man, but the Rangers get a more beneficial package for them. Let me explain why the Rangers are aided more from my option. They’re beyond weak down the middle. Outside Mika Zibenjad, David Desharnais is their second-leading scorer as a true Center with 26 points.

Kevin Hayes is traditionally a winger but is playing out of position due to lack of depth. Brock Nelson can easily slot in and be a productive middle six center on the Rangers. You know that in most years he will give you 20 or more goals and 40 or more points which has value in today’s NHL.

The Rangers are all set on wing, Josh Ho-Sang can’t play center and I think when it’s all said and done they will put up very similar offensive years (around 40-45 points a year). So why not get a position of need.

As for the defensive part of the trade, Mitch Vande Sompel has way more upside than pending UFA Thomas Hickey. I think Ranger fans would like this comparison scouting report from Elite Prospects:

"Vande Sompel is an undersized, but dynamic offensive defenceman. He skates well, generates lots of offense and is very smart in both zones. He could improve defensively, but has the potential to be a Dan Boyle type offensive defenceman has he continues to get stronger and grow more confident."

Thomas Hickey has a very low ceiling in the NHL, he’s a very okay bottom pairing guy but that is it. Vande Sompel, at just 21-years old, is a more intriguing player to me.

What about the cap?

But wait they’ll say the Islanders can’t afford to sign Ryan McDonagh after next year. Actually, they can definitely make it work even factoring in other important extensions. According to the Globe and Mail, the NHL Cap Ceiling could be raised to $80.9 million for the 2019-2020 season.

These charts will provide how the Islanders can make this work for 2019-2020 (Numbers in Italics indicated projected cap hit from a new contract):




That all adds up to $78.7 million which leaves you $2.2 million to fill out your roster. With the cap in 2020-2021 projected to go up to $85.1 million the Islanders should have room to extend Mathew Barzal and can easily get that cap space available by either buying out someone like Cal Clutterbuck or trading a player who makes a larger cap figure.

Next: Islanders Fall To Toronto In Shootout

I hate when people say the rivals shouldn’t make trades. When both sides can benefit like this why the heck wouldn’t you pull the trigger on it.