With the emergence of Oliver Wahlstrom from the New York Islanders this season it seems that the Isles have everything they need to compete for a cup. If Wahlstrom continues his progression he’ll be that top-end goalscoring winger they’ve been after for some time now.
But that doesn’t mean the Islanders can’t add another piece to the roster to push them over the top from contender to favorite status.
We know there are wingers available. Guys like Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson from Nashville or even Johnny Gaudreau from Calgary are said to be on the block. But, as with anything during the pandemic era, the trade deadline will be complicated.
New York Islanders trade deadline approach will be complicated
The Flame, who aren’t performing well have been looking to make a shake-up with the roster. Johnny Gaudreau has been rumored to be on the block for some time now as part of that desired shake-up.
According to ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski, before re-hiring Daryl Sutter the Flames tried to make a roster change by exploring the trade market. Executing a trade was going to be too difficult so the Flames opted to sign their former coach.
Trades are tough to come by for a number of reasons in this COVID-impacted season. The salary cap is a big one. With no movement on the cap this year or next teams have little space to add.
There’s also just the nature of the competition right now. With every single game being a proverbial four-pointer and with most teams still close to a playoff spot, there aren’t many sellers out there.
Couple that need to not drop any points with the quarantine period required for players traded between Canadian and US teams and you can see a pretty big lack of incentive to make a deal unless it’s an offer a GM just can’t refuse.
That increased cost to simply force another team’s hand at making a deal isn’t appetizing for GMs (and rightfully so). It’s one of the reasons why Lou wasn’t able to move Leo Komarov or Thomas Hickey in the pre-season and why he’ll have a hard time doing trying to do it again later in the year or in the offseason.
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Again, who knows if the Islanders feel they need to add an impact player at the trade deadline. The entirety of the top six has started to perform well and now their trio of youngsters (Wahlstrom, Dobson, Sorokin) are progressing as they’d hoped.
Getting a Forsberg or a Gaudreau caliber player would be great but the drain on draft capital and prospects would be daunting for a system that’s already pretty bare and likely keep the Isles activity at the trade deadline this season fairly restrained.