Oh, how I missed the offseason. A time where everyone is trying to play armchair GM and make their team better. I’m going to be attempting to do that for the New York Islanders today with the latest guy to hit the trade market.
Apparently, the St. Louis Blues are exploring trading Vladimir Tarasenko. Tarasenko holds a no-trade clause but with the Blues set to have a facelift, moving Tarasenko to start the rebuild seems like a wise choice.
Can the New York Islanders who are strapped for cash make this work? Well, it would be extremely difficult but not impossible. Here is what would need to happen in order for the team to land a player like Tarasenko:
Clearing Cap Space
First, the Islanders would have to clear some space to fit the $7.5 million cap hit. Johnny Boychuk’s $6 million would have to go to LTIR first and foremost. Boychuk is no longer able to play due to an eye injury and has one more year left on his deal so putting him on LTIR for one more year before Boychuk officially retires seems to make sense.
Then, there’s Andrew Ladd. He played just one game in the AHL last year and has just four games in the NHL over the past two years. It’s over. If he were to just flat out retire, the Isles would get that $5.5 million in cap space or if they’re able to put him on LTIR, likely a more realistic option, it would essentially raise the cap ceiling for New York. Lou has to get Ladd to LTIR this year.
In the expansion draft, I have the Seattle Kraken taking Jordan Eberle. Not many top-six players will be available for them and with Eberle on some term (three more years) at $5.5 million it’s not an awful price for a top-six player who can get you 50 points.
What! Trading a goalie who is coming off a .929 save percentage season? With Ilya Sorokin needing a new contract, I’m not sure the Isles can afford to keep both Varlamov and Sorokin at whatever his new number will be.
Edmonton has the need and the cap space in order to get a deal like this done.
Re-Signing RFA’s and UFA’s
Adam Pelech – 5 years $22.5 million ($4.5 million AAV)
Iya Sorokin – 2 years $8 million ($4 million AAV)
Anthony Beauvillier – 5 years $21.25 million ($4.25 million AAV)
Kieffer Bellows – 2 years $1.5 million ($750,000 AAV)
Anatoly Golyshev – 2 years $1.6 million ($800,000 AAV)
Otto Koivula – 2 years $1.6 million ($800,000 AAV)
Casey Cizikas – 3 years $5.25 million ($1.75 million AAV)
Pekka Rinne – 1 year $900,000
Andy Greene – 1 year $750,000
Casey Cizikas comes back on a team-friendly deal for the remainder of the Matt Martin contract so the two can ride out into the sunset together. The Islanders will already be paying Greene due to some bonuses from his last contract so why not have him come back for depth?
As for Pekka Rinne, the Isles need an experienced goalie with Semyon Varlamov leaving in a trade so why not bring in one who is familiar with Barry Trotz and Mitch Korn.
Adam Pelech, Ilya Sorokin, and Anthony Beauvillier are all retained and the Isles bring back Kieffer Bellows, Anatoly Golyshev, and Otto Koivula for depth as RFA’s.
The Tarasenko Trade
In this trade, the Isles land Tarasenko to plug into their lineup for the next two years at $7.5 million. As for St Louis, they get the Islanders first two picks in next year’s draft as well as a right-handed defenseman prospect in Bode Wilde.
The Blues are older on the right side with Justin Faulk, Colton Parayko, and Robert Bortuzzo at the moment. They have some youth on the left in the farm system, but adding someone like Wilde who should be ready to go by 2022 (when Parayko and Bortuzzo are UFA’s) seems like a wise choice.
This leaves the Islanders with $2.26 million in cap sace
The Islanders Lineup
Lee – Barzal – Tarasenko
Beauvillier – Nelson – Bailey
Bellows – Pageau – Wahlstrom
Martin – Cizikas – Clutterbuck
Pelech – Pulock
Leddy – Mayfield
Greene/Salo – Dobson
For a team that was looking to retain John Tavares and then made a big run at Artemi Panarin, this might finally be that scoring threat they’re looking for. Again, there’s a ton of moving parts to make this work so the likelihood may be on the slim side but it’s not impossible.
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Lou Lamoriello is going to have a busy offseason. He may need to utilize the trade market again in order to improve this team.