The New York Islanders have three key pending unrestricted free agent forwards that are nearing decision time with the trade deadline fast approaching, but there isn’t simply a trade OR re-sign option – they can also trade AND re-sign some or all of them.
The New York Islanders can take a page out of their cross-town friends in the Bronx and find similar success that the Yankees had in trading Aroldis Chapman for up-and-coming star Gleyber Torres, only to then sign Chapman mere months later after his rental ended.
Or look no further than the Capitals’ trade of Brooks Orpik to the Avalanche this past offseason, only to have him immediately bought out by Colorado and signed by the Caps. The Caps got salary cap relief and the Avs got Philipp Grubuaer handcuffed to Orpik.
While it is not exactly the same execution, the same principle remains in that you unload a player to another team for the new team’s short-term gain, with every intention to bring them back after that player has fulfilled that objective with the new team.
It happens in every sport, and if the Islanders are falling out of contention or see the opportunity to improve long-term without too large of a drop in short-term production to stay in contention, they may make the move to rent out a player or two for some prized picks or prospects.
And they can do it with every intention of signing that player in the offseason.
The risks are obvious that the player will find a better opportunity with the new team or will test the market and the Isles lose out. But in some situations, the wink-nod arrangement to leave and return is best for both team and player.
The Isles have several pending UFAs but I’ll profile just Lee, Nelson and Eberle for the moment as Filppula carries a No Move Clause, Lehner has been too good to not sign now and Kuhnhackl and Sbisa have little trade value.