New York Islanders Need To Revamp Defense For 2018-2019

By Matt O'Leary
GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 22: Nick Leddy /
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new york islanders
new york islanders /

What The Islanders Are Getting

The Islanders are getting the Coyotes top-pair from this year in Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Niklas Hjalmarsson. Both are extremely productive blue-liners despite playing on a poor team out in Arizona.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson has 39 points (13 goals, 26 assists) through 75 games this year. With one more point this year OEL will eclipse the 40 point mark in four out of the past five years. He brings an offensive upside to the defense as an elite-level puck-moving defenseman.

He is under contract for one more year at $5.5 million dollars before becoming a UFA. At age 26 he would seem like a prime candidate to receive a long-term extension.

Then there’s Niklas Hjalmarsson. Hjalmarsson is a 30-year-old defenseman who is a shut-down defenseman the Islanders desperately need. He has just nine points in 48 games this year but he’s not the kind of defenseman you need to create a lot of offense.

He’s the guy you put out there to block shots and help you on the penalty kill. Hjalmarsson also eats minutes, as he’s averaged over 20 minutes per game each of the last seven seasons. Niklas has one year remaining at a $4.1 million cap hit.

Both guys are top-four level defensemen and provide an immediate impact for the Islanders who should be in their window of opportunity for winning next year.

The extra pick is just a throw in to even things out in this move because the Islanders are giving up a lot.