A top-four left-handed defenseman is the New York Islanders biggest need for the offseason. With Nick Leddy going to the Detroit Red Wings, the Isles have a big hole to fill.
And while the Islanders have two interesting left-shot defensive prospects in the pipeline (Robin Salo and Samuel Bolduc), it seems unlikely that either will be given a top-four role right out of camp.
That means the Islanders are in search of a lefty defenseman. Getting one would first involve finding a team with a surplus at the position. The Ottawa Senators seem like a good option to look for a lefty-d, cause they have a surplus.
Are the New York Islanders and Ottawa Senators good trade partners?
As it stands now the team from the Canadian capital has five left-handed defensemen under contract for the 2021-22 season:
- Thomas Chabot
- Michael Del Zotto
- Nick Holden
- Victor Mete
- Erik Brannstrom
They have a surplus, and according to the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch, the Sens are looking to add a forward. Which is something the Islanders have to spare.
Assuming Beauvillier, Cizikas, Parise, Palmieri, and Zajac are signed the Isles will have 16 forwards under contract. That’s of course way too many forwards. So on that alone, the Senators and Islanders seem to be good trade partners.
Now, Chabot is clearly not available so I won’t even go there. You’d have to think that Nick Holden – who was acquired from the Vegas Golden Knights in a recent trade – is also off the table. But what about the other guys?
Of the names there Victor Mete is the one that stands out the most. Sure, he was recently signed to a one-year deal, but I don’t think a one-year deal makes him a lock to stay on the squad. And a one-year $1.2 million AAV, it’s not as if the Senators are that invested in him.
But is he a top-four guy? He likes to carry the puck – 70% 5on5 carry-in rate last year which was the highest in the NHL – but he doesn’t really put up points. His most productive season was in 2018-19 where he had 13 points in 71 games.
Former Ranger, Michael Del Zotto is the only other interesting name, but it’s been a while since he’s been the same player that finished eighth in 2010 Calder voting (37 points in 80 games) and 12th in 2012 Norris voting (41 points in 77 games). He hasn’t scored 30 or more points since 2014-15. He’s also not much of a puck-mover.
The two teams sure seem like good trade partners. The Sens seem to have what the Isles want but when you delve into the available options the possibility of a trade working out just kind of peters out.