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Islanders: Why Tarasenko trade package can’t include either 2018 1st’s

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA - MAY 24: Noah Dobson #8 of the New York Islanders handles the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period in Game Five of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG PAINTS Arena on May 24, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA - MAY 24: Noah Dobson #8 of the New York Islanders handles the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period in Game Five of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG PAINTS Arena on May 24, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
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The link between St Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko and the New York Islanders won’t go away. It just makes too much sense that the goal-deprived Islanders would be in the market to add Tarasenko who’s a goal-scoring machine and Stanley Cup Champion.

Sure, he’s coming off three shoulder surgeries (the first two never fixed the initial issue), but when healthy – which he apparently is now – Tarasenko is one of the better goal scorers in the NHL. From 2013-14 through to 2018-19 Tarasenko ranks seventh in scoring with 203 goals. Which is only five goals off of second place (Sidney Crosby with 208).

Today The Athletic put together two trade packages for Tarasenko (subscription required), and both feature one of the Islanders two 2018 first-round picks, Noah Dobson and Oliver Wahlstrom. I’m here to tell you that neither can be traded.

New York Islanders can’t trade Wahlstrom or Dobson in Tarasenko trade

I get why both Rutherford and Pronman went in the direction of young promising players like Noah Dobson and Oliver Wahlstrom. Both have the potential to be so much more than they were in 2020-21. But trading either is a no-go for the Islanders for a few reasons.

As you probably already know, the Islanders are one of the older teams in the NHL. Their average age of 29.16 was the second-highest after the Washington Capitals 29.44 last year. That aging core needs young talent coming up in order to keep their window open as long as possible.

The Islanders also need both for their cheap contracts. Both are still on their ELC’s. Dobson has one year remaining while Wahlstrom has two years remaining. Both carry an $894,167 cap hit after having the first year of their deal slide.

Then there’s also the question of how the Islanders would replace either of them? Specifically Dobson.

If Oliver Wahlstrom left I can see the Islanders filling his vacancy on the third line with Kieffer Bellows (assuming he isn’t selected by Seattle in expansion). But if Dobson left the Isles don’t have an NHL-ready right-shot defenseman available to step in. Say what you will about Bode Wilde’s potential, he just isn’t ready yet.

To find an adequate replacement the Islanders would have to dip in the free agency market where they’ll certainly pay more than Dobson’s $894,167 cap hit.

I’m also not sure if the Blues would make a deal for futures. The Blues are still competing for a Cup, which means they’ll want proven NHL players. Again, both Donson and Wahlstrom have the potential to be more than they’ve shown, but they’re still relatively unproven.

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