Kevin Czuczman played an NHL game last night in the year of our lord 2021 for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Why does that name sound familiar you might ask? Well, seven years ago he played 13 games for the Islanders.
Those were the only 13 games in his NHL career but now, seven years later, he is playing for the Penguins on their roster due to an insane amount of injuries. To say the Penguins are in bad shape on the left side would be an understatement.
They have Brian Dumoulin and Juuso Riikola on LTIR and Marcus Pettersson and Michael Mathewson on IR right now, with Czuczman as the only remaining lefty for them.
In a shortened season, every game counts extra and you don’t have time to bank on guys who have 15 games of NHL experience at age 30. Luckily, the Islanders can make a mutually beneficial trade with Pittsburgh.
The Islanders should trade Pittsburgh, Thomas Hickey
Right now, Thomas Hickey is sitting on the taxi squad for the Islanders. He last played for the Isles in 2018-2019 when he played 40 games before getting Wally Pipp’d by Devon Toews in the second half of that season.
In 2019-2020, he played just 14 regular-season games in the AHL for Bridgeport as he had a season with injuries and personal issues off the ice due to a death in the family that caused him to miss time. Now, since he’s healthy, he is an NHL caliber defender that’s expendable for the Islanders.
The Isles don’t even have to get anything in return. Future considerations (basically saying, please just take this contract, is more than enough). For the Islanders, it clears the $2.5 million cap hit off the books.
While Pittsburgh gets a significant upgrade on the blue line in the short term. He can be waived if and when their defenders get healthy later this season. According to CapFriendly, the Pens have $6.43 million in cap space thanks to their LTIR contracts.
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Hickey deserves a shot to play somewhere in the NHL, it just won’t be with the Islanders, and this may be the perfect opportunity for him to get that chance. Lou Lamoriello is going to have to trade with a divisional opponent but we learned last year with the Andy Greene deal, he’s not afraid to do just that.