New York Islanders Should Target San Jose Sharks RFA Kevin Labanc
The New York Islanders are still searching for top-six support. Why not target San Jose Sharks forward and current RFA Kevin Labanc?
Currently, the New York Islanders top six is comprised of captain Anders Lee, centers Mathew Barzal and Brock Nelson, wingers Josh Bailey and Jordan Eberle, and…someone else.
The Islanders tried Anthony Beauvillier in the top six and it flat-out didn’t work. Outside of Beauvillier, the Islanders have to hope that one of their young blue-chip prospects can be an immediate top-six. None of which seem ready for the NHL.
Or maybe they can put Tom Kuhnhackl back in the top-six. (I know. Not ideal)
The Islanders still have $8.65 million in cap space, adding a top-six winger is still possible. San Jose Sharks RFA forward
fits the bill perfectly.
Offer Sheet Threat And Trade
Labanc is an RFA that’s still without a deal. The 23-year-old is coming off a career-high 56 point season with the San Jose Sharks where he recorded 17 goals.
The Sharks don’t want to lose the Brooklyn native and former sixth-round pick in 2014, but they only have so much cap space and still have some gaps to fill in the roster.
With only nine forwards on the books and $6.38 million in cap space, there isn’t much wiggle room for GM Doug Wilson.
That’s where Lou comes in with a Brian Burkian offer sheet threat. The Islanders should absolutely come to Wilson and indicate they are prepared to offer Labanc a $6.34 million AAV offer sheet.
A $6.34 million AAV would be a huge upgrade for Labanc and one that Wilson surely couldn’t match. It would leave the Sharks who only have $6.38 million before reaching the cap ceiling with some $40,000 in cap space with only ten forwards signed.
Taking the offer sheet compensation on a $6.34 million deal also wouldn’t be palatable for Wilson. At that AAV the Sharks would get a first and third-round pick from the New York Islanders. That’s not fair value.
That’s where Lou and Doug Wilson try to work out a trade.
The Sharks don’t need any help on the blue line, but the Islanders could offer the Sharks a bottom-six forward, a blue-chip offensive prospect, and a third-round pick for Labanc.
A ~$6.34 million AAV might be high, sure. The Athletics Kevin Kurz (subscription required) thinks Labanc will sign with the Sharks for between $3 million and $4 million. But Labanc had a career year while only averaging 14:00 minutes a night.
In a top-six role with the Islanders, playing some 16 to 17 minutes a night, Labanc will certainly improve. He still hasn’t peaked as a player. At the very least he’ll maintain his 45-55 point production.
Kevin Labanc could fit right into what the New York Islanders are looking for. He’s a young top-six right-handed winger that’s only getting better. And his floor seems to be 40-50 points. It’s almost too perfect.
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I’m sure Labanc doesn’t necessarily want to leave the San Jose Sharks for the New York Islanders. But if the payday is there he’s got to at least think about it. Right?