With the 20-21 season over for most NHL clubs, they’ve begun to think about how they can take the next step to be in the final four or beyond. So that means the trade rumor mill is wide open and already a number of names are out there. While the New York Islanders are still involved I keep seeing one name in the rumor mill that I’d love to see on the Island.
Guys like Jack Eichel, Seth Jones, and Matt Dumba are said to be out there on the trade market, but neither are necessarily interesting for the Islanders. Sure, getting Jack Eichel would be great for the Isles, but the Islanders don’t have the cap space, nor do they have the pieces to send for Eichel.
The one interesting name I’ve seen rumored to be available is Buffalo Sabres forward Sam Reinhart. Can the Islanders swing such a trade?
Sam Reinhart the top option on the trade market for New York Islanders
Look, I know what you’re thinking; “how?” And I’ll admit the Islanders might not have the pieces to pull it off. But of all the names out there, Reinhart could be the type of player the Islanders need to bolster their squad in 21-22.
The right-shot forward, who can play either center or on the wing, is a 20+ goal scorer and 60+ point player. At 25 years old he’s just entering his peak as an NHL’er. Having him next to Barzal could be wildly productive for the Islanders.
Reinhart is coming off what would have been a career year with 25 goals and 40 points in 54 games for a terrible Sabres team. Pace out that production over a full season and Reinhart pops in 37 goals (career-high) and 59 points.
As an RFA this year he’s due a new deal and it’s going to cost more than the $5.2 million AAV he carried before his current deal expired.
The Islanders can probably make enough room with the expansion draft and possibly trading off at least one soon-to-be expiring deal (Komarov, Leddy, Clutterbuck). I won’t venture to guess what happens with Ladd. I’m not sure his contract can be traded with two years left.
Making the money work seems possible without having to pull out the abacus to crunch it all down to the dollar.
Having the right assets might be the real issue in pulling Sam Reinhart.
Picks and Prospects
The Sabres need a goalie and they’re trying to get one. Semyon Varlamov is not the goalie they’re looking to get (also Varly holds as modified no-trade and I’m sure Buffalo is on it). That leaves Ilya Sorokin as the only option. I know the Islanders love Varlamov but they brought Sorokin over for a reason and I don’t think it was to trade him for a top-six winger.
Outside of Sorokin, the Islanders prospect pool isn’t stocked with a bunch of top-end prospects. Guys like Kieffer Bellows, Otto Koivula, Robin Salo, and Samuel Bolduc are certainly interesting players, but they’re – at best – B-level prospects.
It’s going to take a few of those prospects and a few picks for the Islanders to swing this deal.
Reinhart would be a huge get for the Islanders, but it’s hard to see a path to Reinhart becoming an Islander. The salary alone will be tough to navigate let alone sending enough value to the Sabres in a deal (maybe Anthony Beauvillier heads to Buffalo too?).
But if they can make it work, the Isles could get a 25+ goal forward who’s only just hit his peak and could compliment Mathew Barzal very well.