The New York Islanders want to get better between now and the trade deadline. Before the Anders Lee injury, the Isles trade targets were a left-winger for the third-line and a depth defenseman. The Isles could try and hitch a bad cap contract at the trade deadline.
The New York Islanders tried to move some of their extra players this past off-season to free up cap space. Two of those players were Thomas Hickey and Leo Komarov. Lou Lamoriello couldn’t find an equitable dance partner then but can he find one by the April 12th trade deadline?
Hitching a Bad Cap Contract
Lamoriello could try and unload either Hickey or Komarov in a trade deadline deal where he upgrades the current team and frees up cap space for next season. To do this Lamoriello will have to give up a greater return.
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One of the defensemen that will be moved between now and the trade deadline is Detroit’s Jon Merrill. The 29-year old defenseman has a 925K cap hit and will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Lamoriello also had Merrill in New Jersey.
One would think Merrill’s market value would be roughly a 4th-round pick. When you go back to last year’s trade deadline depth defensemen Derek Forbort was moved for a 4th-round pick and Dylan DeMalo was traded for a 3rd-round pick. Merrill should probably fall along the lines of a fourth-round selection.
What if Lamoriello told Red Wings GM, Steve Yzerman, he would trade a second-round pick for Merrill but you also have to take Hickey. Hickey is signed through next season (2021-2022) with a $2.5 million cap hit.
Keep in mind Detroit already made a move like this in the off-season when they acquired Marc Staal and his $5.7 million cap hit from the New York Rangers along with the Blue Shirts 2021 second-round pick. Staal had one year to go on his deal and will be a UFA after this season.
Lou could look to make a similar move with Komarov in landing a third-line forward. However, if Lee is out for the rest of the year that could change Lamoriello’s priorities. If the Isles captain will be back before the playoffs Lamoriello’s focus will probably remain on upgrading his third-line and acquiring that depth blueliner.
Lamoriello is going to have to free up cap space this off-season as Anthony Beauvillier and Adam Pelech will get substantial raises this summer. Lou could kill two birds with one stone between now and the trade deadline.