New York Islanders Matching the Erik Karlsson Trade Return

TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 10: Erik Karlsson #65 of the Ottawa Senators waits for a puck drop against the Toronto Maple Leafs during an NHL game at the Air Canada Centre on February 10, 2018 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Maple Leafs defeated the Senators 6-3. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 10: Erik Karlsson #65 of the Ottawa Senators waits for a puck drop against the Toronto Maple Leafs during an NHL game at the Air Canada Centre on February 10, 2018 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Maple Leafs defeated the Senators 6-3. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

The Ottawa Senators traded Erik Karlsson to the San Jose Sharks. In a world where we can play revisionist history, we wanted to see how the New York Islanders could have matched.

Former Ottawa Senators captain and now current San Jose Sharks player Erik Karlsson is the best at his position. And the Senators traded him for a slew of players and picks that the New York Islanders could have matched. But would it have been a good idea?

Now. Let’s get one thing clear. Karlsson was in charge of his destination. He had a modified no-trade clause that allowed him to veto a move to ten other teams.

Unlike the Sharks, the Islanders don’t already have Brent Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic on the blue line. And again unlike the Sharks, the Isles aren’t a team that’s made the playoffs nine times in the last ten years including a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Oh, and the Islanders play in the Eastern Conference. The Senators clearly didn’t want to keep him in the East by attaching an anti-Eastern Conference condition on one of the picks they get from the Sharks.

With all that being said, looking at what the Ottawa Senators got from the San Jose Sharks for one year of Erik Karlsson, the Isles could have matched it. Assuming Karlsson wanted to come of course, which he probably didn’t.

But for the sake of playing revisionist history and taking a look at what the New York Islanders have, here’s a package of equal value from the New York Islanders. After writting it all out, its a lot, probably too much.

The Trade

Look at what the Sharks gave and this deal is pretty close. The Sens got Chris Tierney, Dylan DeMelo along with prospects Josh Norris, Rudolfs Balcers, a second-round in 2019 as well as three conditional picks.

The Roster Players

Tierney scored 40 points once in his NHL career. Brock, while two years older has scored 40 points or more on three (almost four) separate occasions. Yes, Brock is $1.312 million more this season on the cap. But he’s certainly a better player than Tierney is.

In Dylan DeMelo the Senators got a positionally sound defenseman that chips in with some quality depth production on the blue line. Sounds a lot like 19 point player Adam Pelech, does it not? Again, Pelech costs more on the cap than DeMelo’s $900,000 hit, but Pelech’s locked up for the next three years.

With Ottawa’s blue line as weak as it is Pelech could step in and easily play on their second pair. For less than two million over the next two years. That’s music to Eugene Melnyk’s pocketbook.

The Prospects

Josh Norris played 37 games for the University of Michigan and put up 23 points in the process. A good return. He has the added bonus of being good friends with the Sens recent fourth overall pick Brady Tkachuk. Islanders seventh-round pick in 2017 Logan Cockerill has 20 in 37 games for Boston University. That’s equal value, minus the whole buddy angle.

Balcers seems like a player. Moving over to the OHL in 2016-17 he scored 77 points 66 games for the Kamloops Blazers. He then added 48 points in 67 AHL games last season. He’s probably ready for the NHL now.

That’s where the New York Islanders send Josh Ho-Sang Ottawa’s way. While Ho-Sang’s 30 points in 50 AHL games weren’t better than Balcer’s production. We know what Ho-Sang can do at the NHL level already.

The Picks (Without Condition)

The 2019 second-round pick is the only pick that Ottawa received that didn’t have any sort of condition attached to it. Sorta. They made sure to receive what they felt would be the earliest of the two second-rounders the Sharks had between their own and Florida’s. Ottawa got Florida’s.

We only have Calgary’s and they’ll probably be about as good as Florida this season. They certainly won’t be better. So Ottawa will take easily take that pick.

Next comes the 2022 first-round pick. In the original trade, this pick doesn’t go to Ottawa automatically. There’s a condition on it. Ottawa would receive the Sharks 2022 first if Karlsson ends up on an Eastern Conference team in 2018-19.

In this scenario, of course, Karlsson ends up on an Eastern Conference team. So I’m giving that pick to Ottawa without condition.

The Picks (With Conditions)

Then comes the two first round picks with conditions. First comes the 2020 first rounder. In the original trade, the Senators get the Sharks first in 2020 if they make the playoffs. So same applies to the Islanders. If the Isles make the playoffs the Sens get their 2020 first.

If the Islanders don’t make the playoffs, the Senators get the Isles first in 2019.

With Karlsson, the Islanders could make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. The Metropolitan Division isn’t what it once was. The possibility of giving up their 2020 first round pick is quite possible.

Last is the 2021 first rounder. The Senators get this if the Islanders make it to the Stanley Cup finals in 2019. If they don’t make the Finals, the Senators could get a second rounder in 2021 if Karlsson re-signs with the Isles.

I want to believe the Islanders can make the Finals by adding only Erik Karlsson. But even my optimism has its limits. Re-signing Karlsson is possible. So that second in 2021 is probably Ottawa’s.

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That’s one heck of a return for the Ottawa Senators. Even the prospects of re-signing Erik Karlsson aren’t great. So that’s two roster players, two prospects with one of them being NHL ready today, a second-round pick, a first-round pick, and two conditional first-round picks.

That’s a lot. Too much for the retooling New York Islanders.