With the 2021 NHL trade deadline just days away, will the New York Islanders move their first-round pick in back-to-back years? They need to add to their forward core, but they could also use that first to try a re-stock a prospect pool that is comparatively weak to other teams in the NHL.
The easy answer is that no it shouldn’t be. But the tougher answer is what will Lou Lamoriello do with it?
So here’s a look at every time Lou has moved a first-round pick that wasn’t made for draft considerations.
New York Islanders low chances of trading first-rounder
In his long NHL career as a GM, Lou Lamoriello hasn’t been one to frequently move his first-rounder. Since 1987 I can count seven times Lou has moved a first to add a big piece to his club. Not once did he do it in back-to-back years.
(I’m not counting times where Lou traded a first at the draft to move up or down like in 1990 when he moved down to 20th overall to select Martin Brodeur.)
Here’s the list:
- 1993: Claude Lemieux
- 2002: Jamie Langenbrunner and Joe Nieuwendyk
- 2006: Jim Fahey and Alex Korolyuk
- 2010: Ilya Kovalchuk
- 2013: Cory Schneider
- 2016: Frederik Andersen
- 2020: Jean-Gabriel Pageau
Technically I could have taken out the Schneider and Andersen deals. They were done in the summer and are for clear number one starting goalies. Something the Islanders aren’t in search of right now.
But even with them in the list, it’s clear that Lou isn’t a fan of trading first-round picks away.
While he certainly could buck the trend this year by moving a first to add a piece, the way the market is shaping up it’s hard to see such an intense bidding war on the players available (guys like Hall and Palmieri) that their prices inflate to a first-rounder.
Which is part of the reason no deal has been made yet. It seems that both the Sabres and Devils wanted a first and no one has agreed. It’s clear Lou doesn’t want to move that first-round pick to add at the deadline. Those second-round picks from Colorado and a good prospect or two could be going out the door in order to bring in the quality the Isles President and GM is looking for.