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Islanders: Exploring possibility of Filip Forsberg trade

NASHVILLE, TN - JANUARY 14: Filip Forsberg #9 of the Nashville Predators readies for a face off outside the circle during the third period against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Bridgestone Arena on January 14, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. Nashville defeats Columbus 3-1. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - JANUARY 14: Filip Forsberg #9 of the Nashville Predators readies for a face off outside the circle during the third period against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Bridgestone Arena on January 14, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. Nashville defeats Columbus 3-1. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) /
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Every week I usually dive into a few rumors around the NHL and try to figure out how (and if) the New York Islanders would be interested in that player. But this week, I’m just going to focus on one player; Filip Forsberg.

According to NHL insider Elliotte Freidman, the Nashville Predators are ready to listen to offers for just about everyone on their rosted, including Filip Forsberg as they try to reshape their roster going forward.

So I wanted to focus on if the Islanders would or should be interested in trading for the winger and if they could make that trade happen (and what about the cap?).

New York Islanders interest level in trade for Filip Forsberg

The former first-round pick (eleventh overall in 2012), has been an incredible player for the Predators since he made his debut in his first full NHL season back in 2014-15. Over the last seven years, Forsberg has accumulated 174 goals and 364 points.

His worst goals-scoring year was last season where he scored 21 goals in 63 games. But that still had him on pace for 27 goals in a full 82 game season. The point here is that Forsberg, a right-shot forward, scores a lot of goals (and points).

This year, he has nine goals and 17 points in 18 games for Nashville. That puts him on pace for 28 goals and 53 points over this short 56-game year. In a full 82 game year, that’s a pace of 41 goals and 77 points.

I know he’s listed as a center but he plays primarily on the wing. He may not be an elite-level player like Artemi Panarin, but Forsberg is clearly just a level below the Rangers forward. The Islanders interest level in Forsberg should be very high.

Interest level: 4.5/5

Possibility of a trade

Now, how do the Islanders make a trade? It won’t be easy that’s sure.

Forsberg is a point-per-game-ish player at the moment. So that alone will cost a lot. I’m thinking a Taylor Hall-like return for Forsberg. I say “like” because Hall brought back a significant return for New Jersey because of that Hart trophy, something Forsberg does not have.

What Forsberg does have are better numbers since he entered the league:

*Stats taken from Hockey-Reference’s player compare tool and are from 2014-15 to 2020-21.
**PS=point share. This is an estimated number of points a player has given his team.

Forsberg is better in every way, but his cost will still remain lower than the three prospects, 2020 1st, and 2021 third-round pick that Jersey got from Arizona. (Yes, Jersy got Blake Speers too but…c’mon.)

Obvisouly, with anything trade related it’s impossible to say what will and won’t get a trade done. But, does a 2021 1st round-pick, Kieffer Bellows, and Bode Wilde. Get a deal done? It may.

The only issue now, is how the heck do the Islanders make Forsberg’s $6 million cap hit work?

They are already using $3.983 million of Johnny Boychuk‘s $6 million LTIR space. Leaving them only $2.017 million in space. Well shy of Forsberg’s $6 million hit. And with the Isles using LTIR money they aren’t accumulating daily cap space.

Lou has already tried, and failed to find a new home for Thomas Hickey and Leo Komarov. It’s hard to see him having success movign them this year. If neither can be moved, the Isles chances of creating cap space are marginal at best. Unless they change the terms of the trade I proposed.

Maybe (and it’s a big maybe) Lou could convince Nashville, to hold some of Forsberg’s money. Even 25% ($1.5 million) could help a lot. Would an improved package of Anthony Beauvillier, Bode Wilde, and a 2020 1st for Forsberg (with 25% retention) work? Again, maybe.

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If that works, Forsberg cap hit becomes managable. With 25% retention, Forsberg’s hit is reduced to $4.5 million. With Beau gone, the Isles free up $2.1 million and still have $2.017 million of LTIR space before Beau moved. So that reduces the magic cap number from $4.5 million to $383,000. Waiving Ross Johnston or Cory Schneider would take care of that easily.

Seeing Beau leave would be difficult, but Forsberg is without a question an upgrade. It’s possible for the Islanders to add Filip Forsberg to the roster. It’ll take a bit of work, but it’s worth it.

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