What the New York Islanders needed going into the 2019-20 season. What they have a lot of are defensemen. A trade with the Montreal Canadiens for Jonathan Drouin works.
On Tuesday, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman mused in his 31 thoughts, that Montreal Canadiens forward Jonathan Drouin could be moved to make room for other forwards coming up in the system. Forwards like Nick Suzuki. Drouin is a trade target that would be perfect for the New York Islanders.
Can Drouin be a good fit in the Isles top-six?
Over the last three seasons, Drouin, the former third overall pick in 2013 has scored 53 points twice and 46 points once. That’s top-six production. Keep in mind that Anthony Beauvillier was and remains a top-six option for the Islanders and his career-high is 36 points.
So yeah, he can fit in the Islanders top-six.
So what did Friedman say on Jonathan Drouin’s availability exactly?
"This will come as no surprise to anyone who follows the Canadiens, but they are looking to move a forward. Nick Suzuki is pushing. Even though he was sent Monday night to AHL Laval, Jake Evans is too. Hopefully Ryan Poehling makes a quick and complete recovery, but even with his injury, they have extra bodies. Jonathan Drouin played 11:57 in Monday’s 3-0 loss Toronto, lowest among all skaters. Already, this is something to keep an eye on."
Look, low ice time in a preseason game is obviously not anywhere near a guarantee of a trade. But if Elliotte Friedman says it’s something to keep an eye on I’m going to keep two eyes on this.
So what would Montreal want in a hypothetical trade situation? Defense. They want a left shooting defenseman who can carry the puck.
The Islanders have defensemen to spare. They already have seven under contract. And that’s without Noah Dobson on the roster. Dobson, the Isles 12th overall pick in 2018 is ready for the NHL. But with so many defensemen already under contract it would be odd to carry eight blueliners.
So trading away a defenseman to make room for Dobson makes sense. A defenseman like Nick Leddy.
With the emergence of Devon Toews last season, Nick Leddy has taken a step back on the left side of New York Islanders defense. Nick Leddy is that left-shooting puck-moving D the Montreal Canadiens need.
So can the trade be one-for-one? Absolutely.
Both players have fallen in their respective franchises depth charts. Both are excess to requirements. Both carry a $5.5 million cap hit. Leddy for Drouin would be a textbook example of a hockey trade.
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Can the trade happen? Yes. Should it happen? Absolutely. But with a single trade since May 22nd, 2018, I have my doubts that Lou Lamoriello is calling up Marc Bergevin on this. Even though he absolutely should. (I said that already, didn’t I?)