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Editorials

Islanders: Not trading for Ilya Kovalchuk was a good idea

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 23: Ilya Kovalchuk #17 of the Los Angeles Kings during warm up before a preseason game against the Anaheim Ducks at Staples Center on September 23, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 23: Ilya Kovalchuk #17 of the Los Angeles Kings during warm up before a preseason game against the Anaheim Ducks at Staples Center on September 23, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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Ilya Kovalchuk was traded to the Washington Capitals. The New York Islanders are looking for offense, but trading for Kovi would have been the wrong move.

The New York Islanders might have scored eight goals over the last two games, but that just papers over the gap on the offensive side of the game for this team.

With 173 goals-for (in all situations) the New York Islanders

rank 23rd in the NHL

in offense. What the Islanders need going into the trade deadline is goal scoring. But not landing

Ilya Kovalchuk

before the deadline closes Monday at 3 PM was a good thing.

Isn’t What They Needed

Maybe you’re still thinking that Ilya Kovalchuk is a point-per-game player. We were all inundated with his prolific production when he moved to the Habs at the start of January. But over his last 12 games, he’s cooled off considerably.

Kovalchuk started out his career with the Montreal Canadiens in the best way possible. After signing him to a single-year league-minimum deal, Kovalchuk scored eight points in his first ten games. He looked rejuvenated and like an absolute steal by Marc Bergevin.

But since that strong start, Kovi has cooled off. Over his last 12 games with the Habs, he has four points.

Look, I know he’s literally scored goals in the NHL. But the Islanders don’t need more depth players they need players to insert at the top of the roster so that one of the Islanders numerous depth players is pushed down to L3. Ideally giving the Islanders that much-needed balance.

Yes, Kovalchuk’s cap hit is low (made even lower by the Habs holding 50 percent of his $700,000 salary) and giving up a third-round pick isn’t much. But the issue with Kovalchuk isn’t what he cost it’s what he brings. He brings, at best, third line production.

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And yes, I know the third line hasn’t been great all year. But the Islanders need to address that by bringing in a top-line winger to push down some of that depth talent that currently sit in the top six.

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