Robin Salo plays 10+ games
This is easily the boldest prediction of the five because it’s the least likely to actually happen. It’s not that Lou Lamoriello and Barry Trotz don’t like young players, they just aren’t the guys to toss in untested players to the wolves. It’s just not their style.
And look Salo isn’t totally untested, he’s been playing again men for the last five to six years between the Finnish and Swedish top league. So he’s not coming to the Islanders straight out of juniors.
As it stands right now, the Islanders need a left-shot, and ideally a puck-moving defenseman to complement their d-core. And, well, that’s exactly what Robin Salo does. He’s an offense-first, smooth-skating, puck-moving defenseman. He’s, again, exactly what the New York Islanders need right now.
As it stands right now the Isles haven’t yet acquired someone who could fill that puck-moving D role and honestly, Salo might be the team’s best option.
I know some of you might be saying Samuel Bolduc or Sebastian Aho have a chance too, and to an extent, you have a point. Both can say they deserve a look, but in my opinion, Salo is the better player. Even considering Aho’s best AHL season, Salo is, technically better.
When comparing NHLe for all three players Salo is by far the standout.
(If you aren’t sure what NHLe is, its purpose is to predict how a player’s production at whatever level would look like at the NHL level.)
Here’s what all three players NHLe look like based on their most recent production:
- Robin Salo: 27.3
- Samuel Bolduc: 18.6
- Sebastian Aho: 19.5*
*Using Aho’s 2019-20 AHL season, because 3 NHL games from 2020-21 is not a proper sample.
What Salo did while playing for Orebro in the SHL last year translates to a 27 point player at the NHL level.
Again, it looks like the Islanders are poised to try an internal option in Nick Leddy’s spot this year. Of course, a last-minute trade could happen to muck this all up, but assuming that doesn’t happen, Robin Salo could easily be the one to get that spot.