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New York Islanders Top Six Forwards Needs Helps Now

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 09: Ryan Pulock #6 of the New York Islanders returns to the bench after scoring the go-ahead goal at 13:57 of the third period against the Colorado Avalanche at the Barclays Center on February 09, 2019 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 09: Ryan Pulock #6 of the New York Islanders returns to the bench after scoring the go-ahead goal at 13:57 of the third period against the Colorado Avalanche at the Barclays Center on February 09, 2019 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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New York Islanders forwards Tom Kuhnhackl and Leo Komarov do not belong on the second line next to Mathew Barzal. The Isles need to bring in help at the trade deadline.

Against the Vancouver Canucks, New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz made a surprising adjustment to the lineup. After lame performances against the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers, Mathew Barzal’s line was overhauled.

Trotz put Leo Komarov and Tom Kuhnhackl next to the reigning Calder Trophy winner against the Canucks. And it worked about as well as you’d think it would.

Komarov and Kuhnhackl were routinely a step behind Barzal and rarely showed the ability to either create a play or finish one. Rendering Mathew Barzal, the New York Islanders best player effectively useless. That

can’t

go on.

SOS

After moving Anthony Beauvillier next to Valtteri Filppula on line three and with Andrew Ladd still on LTIR it’s not like Trotz had better options to flip things around on Barzal’s wing.

Think about that last sentence for a second. I wrote: “and with Andrew Ladd still on LTIR it’s not like Trotz had better options”. I’ve just convinced myself that Andrew Ladd would be a good option for Barzal’s wing.

That’s the sad state of affairs for the New York Islanders top six, Andrew Ladd is seen as a viable option. It’s not that Andrew Ladd is a bad player, he can certainly still be quite effective. But he’s no longer a consistent and productive top six player.

The New York Islanders have to take the next day or so before the trade deadline to bring in a player that can help round out their top six. It’s not like there aren’t any options out there.

Mark Stone, Artemi Panarin, Mike Hoffman, Gustav Nyquist, and even Jeff Skinner are apparently still available on the trade market. The Islanders have the assets needed to pull at least one of those players in.

Not Just About Playoffs

Obviously, bringing in a top six player would help the Islanders make noise in the playoffs this season. But they need help in the top six for longer than simply the next few months.

Jordan Eberle is as good as gone on July 1 and with Anthony Beauvillier showing he isn’t a top six player that’s a gap at both the left and right side. Say what you will about the skill the Islanders have in the system, but Lou won’t bring in two rookie forwards to round out his top six.

He might integrate one of them into the lineup next season. And that’s likely to be Kieffer Bellows. Oliver Wahlstrom will likely move to the AHL next season (assuming he doesn’t stay at Boston College).

That means going into next season the Islanders have a gap in their top six. The help they need to acquire is both for right now and for the future.

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At the time of writing, there were just over 24 hours before the trade deadline hits. The New York Islanders should take the opportunity to add a top-six player for right now and for the future.

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