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Islanders 2020 Trade Deadline: Expectations are Low, Need is high

Lou Lamoriello of the New York Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Lou Lamoriello of the New York Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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The New York Islanders have a few needs as the 2020 trade deadline approaches, but the expectations that Lou Lamoriello will make a deal are low.

The NHL 2020 trade deadline is here. New York Islanders fans everywhere hope their team will make a move that can help them not only secure a playoff spot but perhaps even challenge for a Stanley Cup. But expectations are low after the Isles did nothing at the 2019 deadline.

The Islanders might have back-to-back wins with a combined eight goals scored across the two, but those two wins and that offense only papers over the needs that this team has.

Both wins came against bottom-tier teams in the NHL. The Red Wings are firmly at the bottom with 34 points on the season while the Sharks sit in 27th place with 57 points. Dunking on both isn’t a measuring stick. The Islanders need to use this trade deadline to strengthen their roster for a push.

Needs

Scoring

Even with those eight goals in two games, the Islanders are still ranked 23rd in the NHL for offense (goals-for).

Over their most recent Western road trip, the Islanders sub-optimal offense was exposed. Over those four games, the Islanders scored a measly two goals. When the Isles top forwards – Mathew Barzal and Brock Nelson – aren’t scoring it seems like no one is.

The Isles need to bring in a top-six player to balance out their lineup. They don’t need more depth players like Ilya Kovalchuk, for example.

Related Story. Kovalchuk wasn't what the Isles needed

In their last two outings, Leo Komarov filled in on the second line. I shouldn’t have to tell you that Leo Komarov isn’t a second-line player. He’s a fine fourth liner, but the higher he goes up the lineup, the else effective he becomes.

If they could find a right-shot top-six player, the Islanders could find more balance in their line and return to playing that four-line system that brought them so much success last season.

Third Line Center

Derick Brassard hasn’t been effective in this spot all season. Even though that’s what he was brought in to do.

With Cizikas out, they could also use someone who could kill penalties. Which is why everyone has their eyes on Ottawa Senators Jean-Gabriel Pageau.

Expectations

Even though Lou Lamoriello has already dipped his toe in the trade market this season by acquiring his old play Andy Greene, expectations are low on him making a second trade this season.

One of the contributing factors is simply due to the market. There aren’t many players out there who can fill either of the Islanders needs that isn’t a rental or who’s value isn’t ridiculously bloated.

Then there’s Lou’s track record as President and GM of the Islanders. He’s made two trades since taking over in May of 2018. He brought in Matt Martin in July of 2018 and Andy Greene a few weeks ago.

You can also look at his body of work as GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Of his 19 trades as GM of the Leafs, not one was for a top-six player. He brought in guys like Michael Grabner, Milan Michalek, and Brian Boyle. All are fine players but all are depth players.

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What he’s done with the New York Islanders on the trade makers mimics what he’s done when he was the President and GM of the Leafs. Combined with his apprehension to deal first-round picks and with the little quality available in the trade market doesn’t fill anyone with confidence.

Hopefully, Lou Lamoriello comes out and addresses at least one of the Islanders needs at the deadline. If he doesn’t Isles Twitter is going to have a conniption fit again.

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