According to The Fourth Period David Pagnotta’s, the New York Islanders will look to add a left-handed “mobile” defenseman later in the year. By later, TFP stated “after the Olympic break”. Remember the NHL is scheduled to go to the Olympics for most of the month of February.
Returning from the Olympics will effectively signify the start of the 2022 trade deadline. Usually, GMs get going a month before the official trade deadline (March 21, 2022).
And while Pagnotta isn’t necessarily off with his assessment on what the Islanders could be looking for, it’s a bit early to try and figure out what they’re going to need some five months before they go shopping.
Too early to think what New York Islanders want at the trade deadline
And again, Pagnotta isn’t wrong that the Isles could be looking for a left-handed puck-mover. They’ve been looking for one since Nick Leddy was traded to the Detroit Red Wings in the offseason.
But it’s still quite early to try and figure out what the Islanders will be in the market for so early in the NHL season. Maybe they don’t even need to go shopping for a left-handed puck mover.
As things are going right now, Robin Salo isn’t ready to jump into this lineup. But he isn’t far off either. Through six AHL games Salo has four points, 13 shots on net (2.16 SOG/G), and 0.8001 point share for the B-Islanders.
His point share (on the offensive and defensive side of the game) is much better than the rest of the B-Islanders blue line through the early portion of the season.
If this trajectory continues through March you have to imagine that Lou Lamoriello could very well bring up Salo as that left-handed mobile defenseman. And it won’t cost them anything to do so. He’s already signed to an NHL contract with a sub-$900,000 cap hit ($842,500 to be precise).
But if the Islanders blueline stabilizes (and they’ve already begun doing so) they might head to the trade deadline to pick up some scoring and not a puck mover. As we know, if there’s one thing the Islanders don’t do well it’s score goals. They score enough to win, but they don’t score enough to win comfortably or to win when the d-structure isn’t working on a particular night.
By the post-Olympic break, the Islanders could very well be in the market for a top-six forward. Maybe.
But I think it’s clear, at the very least, what the Isles go shopping for at the end of February or March could be very different than what’s think it might be today.