Islanders: Playing Youth Over Low-Cost Veterans
By Matt O'Leary
The New York Islanders have appeared to let Derick Brassard walk and “missed out” on Andreas Athanasiou yesterday.
After Anthony Duclair went to Florida, Andreas Athanasiou became a popular name on Isles Twitter for those looking for a veteran upgrade on the third line. Well, for those who wanted him for the Islanders he won’t be coming.
Instead, Athanasiou is heading to Los Angeles on a one-year deal worth $1.2 million. The Islanders also decided to let Derick Brassard sign with Arizona as well after one year of service with the Isles.
Honestly, I’m completely fine with passing on both guys. Brassard was brought in to be a third-line center, like Val Filppula the year prior. Instead, by the deadline the Isles were forced to trade for one.
Sure, one can see the 32 points in 66 games without context and think that he was a fine player for the Islanders but that would be extremely misleading. 15 of his points came in a 12 game stretch within the first 20 games of the season, and that was on line two as a winger.
The rest of the way he was essentially nonexistent for Barry Trotz. Athanasiou may be the more controversial take that I have but I really wasn’t interested in him.
Yes, he was once a 30 goal scorer but that feels like a lifetime ago as he has netted 11 goals in back-to-back seasons since that breakout performance.
Some will see this from Charting Hockey and think okay perfect the Islanders need goals! While that’s true, look at the other baggage that comes along with him. He doesn’t play special teams, he turns the puck over, and he shoots from everywhere. Does that sound like a Barry Trotz player to you?
Instead of pulling in a 26-year-old for that role, I would rather give the 20-year-old the Islanders drafted just over two years ago, Oliver Wahlstrom a shot. His ceiling is likely higher, and at absolute worst, he can give you what Athanasiou has done over the last two years.
I can understand wanting him over a Leo Komarov or Michael Dal Colle, that’s one thing but if we’re going to be giving out third line wing spots why not let it be Otto Koivula (who Barry Trotz trusts defensively) and Oliver Wahlstrom for offensive upside:
Lee – Barzal – Eberle
Beau – Nelson – Bailey
Koivula – Pageau – Wahlstrom
Martin – Cizikas – Clutterbuck
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That’s a lineup that I would be comfortable with for opening night. With our luck, it’ll be Komarov and Dal Colle on line three and then all of our frustration would be justified.