After trading away Nick Leddy in an effort to clear cap space, the New York Islanders are in the market for a left pair defenseman, preferably someone who can play on the second pair as Andy Greene’s top-four days are long gone.
Well, Vancouver has Nate Schmidt on the market and Pierre LeBrun is speculating that the Islanders could be a fit.
If the Islanders would trade for Schmidt, he would reunite with his former coach in Barry Trotz and be an immediate upgrade to their d-core. The issue is can they make the cap number fit?
He had four years remaining at a $5.95 million cap hit. He’s certainly a very solid d-man but can the Isles afford to fit a player like that in? With Johnny Boychuk to LTIR, they would have a little over $23 million to play with this offseason.
Assuming it takes roughly $15 million to re-sign Anthony Beauvillier, Ilya Sorokin, Adam Pelech, and Casey Cizikas, that would leave them with a little over $8 million to play with which would make it difficult to add Schmidt and a forward.
But, if they were to move Leo Komarov’s salary and bury Richard Panik then they would absolutely be able to fit someone like Kyle Palmieri back into the mix. It’s not as sexy as landing a Gabriel Landeskog or Vladimir Tarasenko but would you settle for Palmieri and let’s say Zach Parise as the forward adds and a trade for Nate Schmidt to fill Leddy’s spot? You could sell me on it.
Now, Schmidt’s coming off a bit of a down year with just 15 points (5 goals, 10 assists) in 54 games a pace of just 23 points but the three years prior he eclipsed 30 points a season for Vegas.
Keep in mind, Vancouver is awful defensively so I wouldn’t read too much into the down year on the 24th team in the league.
He’s someone that I would trust playing 20+ minutes a night on a team competing for a championship. Plus, with his contract, it won’t be super costly to add him (he was traded for a 2022 3rd last year coming off a 31 point season).
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This could be a buy low and reap the rewards later move for Lou Lamoriello which seems right up his alley.