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
GLENDALE, AZ – JANUARY 22: Anders Lee /

What the Islanders are Giving up

In order to obtain two quality level NHL defensemen, you’re going to have to give up a lot. That’s why we started with Anders Lee. Lee will be coming off back to back 30 plus goal seasons following this year and he’s got one more year left at $3.75 million.

Lee is a valuable piece and one of the best power-forwards in hockey and it’d hurt to see him go but what is the likelihood he resigns after next year? The Islanders desperately need defense and sometimes you have to part with somebody you like so you don’t lose them for nothing at the end of their contract. That’s the boat we’re in with Lee.

Lee would fit in nicely in the Coyotes top-six plus he’s extremely cheap at under $4 million. There are few 40 goal scorers available to begin with, plus one’s that are reasonably priced. This would be a fantastic addition for Arizona.

Then there’s the first round pick. The Islanders are lucky enough to have two so they can move whichever one they feel more comfortable with. If they end up with the eighth and 12th pick like they’re currently projected to get you let Arizona pick whichever one they want.

Arizona is in the middle of a rebuild and they don’t like to spend a lot of money. Players on their entry-level contracts are extremely valuable so give up a first and let them take Ty Smith or Noah Dobson to bolster up that blue-line on the cheap.

Then of course, to sweeten the pot the Islanders add in Sebastian Aho and Adam Pelech. Adam Pelech could be a bottom pairing d-man who is extremely cheap. He’s signed for three more years at $1.6 million. The Coyotes are a team on a budget so I’m sure they’d love to add a player like Pelech.

As for Aho, he’s a 21-year-old with a second pair ceiling. I would be surprised if Aho turns out to be a top-pair d-man or a bottom pair d-man for that matter as well. There’s nothing wrong with a second pairing d-man as it’s a valuable piece to a team.

So for Hjalmarsson and Ekman-Larsson the Islanders essentially give up Anders Lee, Ty Smith/Noah Dobson, Adam Pelech and Sebastian Aho.