The New York Islanders are going to use the trade deadline to strengthen. Or they’ll at least took at bringing someone in says GM Lou Lamoriello who was updating the media on Anders Lee‘s injury/surgery.
In order to make a trade and keep the band together, Lou is going to have to deal draft picks and prospects to bring in what he’s looking for. We already know what picks are worth the most to the organization and which would have the most value in a trade. What about the team’s prospects?
Here’s a breakdown of Islanders prospects into four tiers. These tiers are based on their value to the franchise and how willing they’d be to trade the player.
(Note: A prospect for me is a player under the age of 25. Anyone above isn’t going to factor in this ranking.)
New York Islanders prospect tiers from tradeable to hang up the phone
Valuable and tradeable tier
- Bode Wilde
- Ruslan Iskhakov
- Jakub Skarek
Bode Wilde isn’t having a great go in the AHL in what would be his first “full” year. There’s are flashes of that player we keep hearing could be a John Carlson-type. But it might take another year or so before he gets there. With Samuel Bolduc and Robin Salo already in the pipeline, Wilde can be moved.
I know Bolduc and Salo are both lefties while Wilde is right-handed. But both lefties are borderline NHL’ers for me where Wilde is a step or two behind. Keeping both Bolduc and Salo gives the Isles cover if they lose a more seasoned blue-liner in the expansion draft or in a cap dump before the 21-22 season.
I like Ruslan Iskhakov as a prospect a lot, probably more than most. He’s got a ton of skill and can clearly play in a man’s league. There’s a lot to like in Iskhakov’s game. With the way he’s playing right now for TPS his value is very high.
The Isles don’t have a lot of center depth in the system so losing him wouldn’t help much there, but they’re in win-now mode. Long-term sacrifices will be made for short-term gains.
Kind-of valuable ok if they leave via trade tier
- Simon Holmstrom
- Collin Adams
- Mitchell Vande Sompel
- Otto Koivula
- William Dufour
- Parker Wotherspoon
- Alex Jefferies
Simon Holmstrom has been fine for the Sound Tigers this season with four points in nine games. He’s progressing slowly but progressing none-the-less. To be fair to him, he’s had a turbulent couple of years from making the trip across the Atlantic and beginning his North American hockey career as an 18-year-old to bouncing between the Allsvenskan, Team Sweden, and now Bridgeport this season.
Otto Koivula could be a good third-line player if a team could give him the chance to play in that role. Unfortunately, the Islanders aren’t one of those teams right now. They have better options or options they’d rather play (like Leo Komarov).
Too valuable to trade away, just hang up the phone tier
Kieffer Bellow would have certainly made the A tier just a week ago. But since Lee’s injury, the 19th overall pick in 2016 has adapted himself well on that top line with Mathew Barzal and Jordan Eberle. He’s just not going anywhere right now.
If the Islanders bring in a top-six winger Bellows will certainly be the first to drop out, but he won’t fall out of the lineup entirely. Playing him with Pageau and Wahlstrom on the third line could be a nice upgrade. It still leaves the Isles with six forwards who can play on the PK, assuming the new body doesn’t play short-handed.
(Note: Filip Forsberg has played 100+ minutes on the PK in 15-16 and 16-17. Both years were the only time he scored 30+goals.)
I don’t need to justify why Wahlstrom is on this list. I also already talked about the two left D’s.
Little value, little trade value tier
This tier includes everyone else not listed from the other tiers. That includes guys like Alexander Ljungkrantz, Matias Rajaniemi, or Logan Cockerill. It’s a large group of players.
These players could be added as kickers to a deal that needs a bit of a sweetener. Like the Isles did last year with the Andy Greene trade when they sent defensive prospect David Quenneville to the Devils (along with that 2021 second).
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I think the big takeaway here is that the Isles don’t have a ton to work with. They just might have to dip in the “Too valuable to trade away, just hang up the phone” tier to pull in the player they truly want, or someone off the roster heads the other way.