A New Look is What the Islanders Need
This plan might have a lot of moving parts, but it would give the Islanders exactly what they need: seven quality defenseman at an affordable price. Devon Toews, Mitch Vande Sompel, and Sebastian Aho are all waiting in the wings as well, so a position of weakness would immediately turn into a position of strength if the Islanders executed these moves.
With Hickey, here is what the Islanders defense would look like next year:
(Without Hickey, a free agent signing or a prospect could take his place.)
A lineup like this would instantly give the Islanders a very formidable defense that opposing teams will not look forward to playing.
The top-pair of Leddy and Boychuk could go out for offensive draws and help the team put points on the board.
A lockdown defensive pair like de Haan and Faulk would go up against the other team’s top lines and intimidate opponents.
Hickey and Pulock would do exactly what they did last season: put points on the board, maintain a good +/-, and play in all situations.
This plan to fix the defense may be a pipe dream, but if executed, the Islanders would be a legitimate Playoff team next year. John Tavares would need to re-sign and the team would still need to find a goalie, but a defensive makeover like this would go a long way towards bringing the Islanders back to relevance.