Based on the roster there’s little excitement for the New York Islanders going into 2018-19. But a trade to start the season could theoretically change all of that.
There isn’t much exciting New York Islanders fans as the start of the 2018-19 season looms. The prospect of Mathew Barzal having a better season, Ryan Pulock tossing 100mph slapshots from the blueline, and that electric fourth line. That’s about it in terms of excitement.
This season isn’t looking like it’s going to be a classic. And that’s fine in a way. We kind of expected that in year one of the Lou Lamoriello show. A year of growing pains as we move passed the Tavares era and enter the Barzal era.
That could all change with a trade though. And by the sounds of it, Lou Lamoriello is working the phones to get a deal done.
Who’s Out There
According to Newsday’s Andrew Gross, Barry Trotz stated that Lou Lamoriello is working the phone to make a trade.
Looking around the league here’s a few players that could be/have been known to be available:
Artemi Panarin (Columbus Blue Jackets): We know that Panarin does not want to be in Columbus long-term and it seems like the New York Islanders might be on his list of destinations according to Aaron Portzline (subscription required). A trade will involve a lot for the point-per-game winger, but adding him would go a long way to replace the production that left with Tavares.
William Nylander (Toronto Maple Leafs): He still hasn’t signed for the Maple Leafs. He’s part of that Leafs dynamic youthful core, but new GM Kyle Dubas might need enough cap space to sign Mitch Marner and Auston Mathews next season, Nylander and his possible $8 million+ contract might have to go.
Matt Duchene (Ottawa Senators): While the first two are wingers, Matt Duchene fills an immediate need for the Islanders; he’s a centerman. He’s great on the draw, great on the power play, and he can put up a ton of points. Having him as the second line center after Mathew Barzal would turn a weakness into a strength.
(bonus points: Who doesn’t want to trade with the Ottawa Senators right now?)
Oscar Klefbom (Edmonton Oilers): The 24-year-old Oilers defenseman seems like he’s always tossed into a potential trade. He’s useful and can certainly move the puck out of the defensive zone. If Lou is looking to shake up the Isles top four defensive unit, a trade for Klefbom (a former tenth overall pick) would do just that.
Intrigued but Still Not Excited
Some New York Islanders might not be too excited about the prospect of a trade, that’s fair. Since Lou Lamoriello became the President and General Manager he’s brought in Valtteri Filppula, Leo Komarov, Tom Kuhnhackl, Matt Martin, and Luca Sbisa.
The names listed here are all relatively big names. None would find themselves amongst the Islanders’ bottom six forwards or on the bottom defensive pairing.
Consider this, Lou’s got more than he needs at the bottom end of the roster. If he’s going to make a trade you’d have to think there’s a considerable probability that it’s going to be for a player that could help near the top of end of the roster.
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Although, the cynic could also say that there’s a good chance Lou gets rid of a few bottom tier players to get one OK bottom tier player. I’m just choosing to err on the side of optimism on this one.