The New York Islanders approach the trade deadline month with plans unknown to the public, but after the deal yesterday that sent Jason Zucker to the Penguins, the value is warped too far for the Isles to be involved in the trade deadline moves.
My issue isn’t with the player, but with the value.
If that is the value being placed on players in this year’s trade deadline then it’s a great big ‘no thank you’ from me, and I hope Lou Lamoriello and team follow suit.
Yesterday Mitch outlined what it would have taken for the Isles to match the deal and suggested they should have. Respectfully, I disagree.
Do you know what Mark Stone, a better, younger player was traded for last year? A top blueline prospect, a second-round pick and a serviceable NHL winger. The Pens just paid a HIGHER price for a far inferior player.
Yes, Stone hits the cap harder but he was locked up for eight years and is one of the best right wings in the game.
Zucker has some solid statistics (0.53 points per game in nearly 16 minutes-per-game of ice time) and still has term on his contract (signed through the 2022-23 season – his age 31 season) but his impact and numbers have been overhyped and inflated in discussion since the trade.
In five and a half seasons (not counting the first few seasons with no more than 21 games)…
He has scored more than 22 goals in a season. Once.
He scored more than 47 points. Once.
He was a positive +/- player. Twice (though one was a crazy +34).
He plays the powerplay but doesn’t kill penalties.
Again, this is a nice middle-six player who will score you about 20 goals a year and I take nothing away from him, but my issue is the warped value chart for trade deadline players. Giving up a top blueline prospect, a first-rounder, and a serviceable NHL winger is just bad value and not the direction the Isles should be headed in.
Where would Zucker fit in?
On the third line playing fourteen minutes a game.
Would I take him on the third line with Brassard and Bellows? Of course, he would be a good addition, and I’d welcome it for a reasonable package (say, maybe, Aho, MDC and a third-rounder) but not at the trade assets and money owed.
At $5.5M a year and lost prospects and picks that is not good value.
I have no doubts that my trade offer would be rejected by the Wild, but for me, that’s the value of this player. The trade deadline values are just so skewed and warped, and if Zucker is going for that package then I can’t even imagine what other available players will be valued at closer to the deadline.
Are the Islanders giving up a top prospect, a top pick and a serviceable NHL player for a $5.5M AAV third-line left-wing?
I sure hope not.