After a third first-round exit in the same number of years for the Toronto Maple Leafs, it sounds like no one is safe. Who should the New York Islanders target to take off their hands?
The New York Islanders still have a weakness at the top end of the roster. Their lack of talent has been on full display in the second round of the playoffs with only a single goal scored (thanks to Jacob Slavin) across both games. Maybe Lou can give his old Toronto Maple Leafs team a call to look for players?
As they closed out the season following a first-round exit to the Boston Bruins, again, Toronto Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas indicated that no one in the organization is safe.
Toronto has a number of nice top end, and lower tier players the Islanders can use. They’re also in an incredible crunch with the salary cap. And now they’re seemingly open for business. Who should the Isles try and target?
(For each player I’ll rate the Isles interest and the possibility that said player could head to Long Island)
Mitch Marner RW | 94 pts (26G, 68A)
Interest rate: 10/10
Possibility rate: -1/10
He’s without a contract going into this offseason. With Mathews and Nylander getting big money you know he’ll want it to get paid too (and deservedly so). But then doesn’t mean they’ll let him go. Why in the world would Toronto let him go?
Unless he gets an offer sheet. But judging on the number of times an offer sheet has been signed, the possibility of this ever happening exists only in Islanders fans dreams. Dubas will never move Marner, and why would he? With 94 points in only his third year of play, the sky is the ceiling for Marner.
Kasperi Kapanen RW | 44 pts (20G, 24A)
Interest rate: 6/10
Possibility rate: 4/10
The 22-year-old played his first full season in the NHL and recorded 44 points. Before that, he was a point-per-game player at the AHL level for the Marlies. The former Pittsburgh first-round pick from 2014 has talent.
The RFA could likely be had in a trade for picks and prospects. With a projected $5.26 million in cap space next season, the Maple Leafs won’t have the space to sign all of their RFAs.
The one major weakness the Islanders have up front is on the right flank. Kapanen can fit in on the Islanders second line right-wing to play with Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey.
Andreas Johnsson LW | 43 pts (20G, 23A)
Interest rate: 5/10
Possibility rate: 7/10
Yet another RFA with good offensive numbers. Johnsson, a seventh-round pick from 2013 put up 43 points in his first full year with the Leafs. Just like the first two, he’s up for a contract. But according to Darren Dreger, the negotiations aren’t going well.
Can Lou step in with a trade proposal for the young winger? Easily. Should he? Yeah, he probably should. I’d love to see a $4 million offer sheet. The compensation going Toronto’s way would be a single second-round pick.
Like the Marner offer sheet pipe dream, I doubt Lou goes after his old team’s player with an offer sheet. But then again, this is probably his last GM gig in the NHL before he retires. So why not? What does Lou Lamoriello have to lose exactly? (Maybe it makes it tough for his son, I guess)