One thing is abundantly clear about this 2021-2022 New York Islanders team, they won't be buyers at the trade deadline. At this point, they are too far out of the playoff race to justify trading off assets to try to help their 2021-2022 season.
They will likely sell off some pieces like veterans on expiring deals and possibly Semyon Varlamov or Scott Mayfield if they get offered something that blows Lou Lamoriello away. There's also an other way for this team to be active at the deadline, which isn't talked about nearly as much.
They can take on salary at the deadline from other teams.
The Isles positioned themselves to have cap space at the deadline, and according to CapFriendly, they will have $14 million in space to play with. Not every team has that luxury, in fact there are teams on the bubble of the playoffs that are under $1 million in cap space to try to go for it.
What if Lou Lamoriello took on contracts that other teams didn't want for the remainder of this year?
Just as an example to show you what I'm talking about, let's look at the Dallas Stars. They are three points out of a playoff spot and are working with $1.1 million in space at the trade deadline. Obviously, that's not a ton to work with if they were looking to trade for an impact player to help them go on a run.
What if the Stars moved Alexander Radulov and a pick to get the Islanders to take on the remaining salary. He holds a big number at $6.25 million and hasn't produced this year with just 16 points (2 goals, 14 assists).
The cap space doesn't matter to the Islanders, they wouldn't even have to play him necessarily. Olli Maatta of the Kings could be another example of this. Essentially you're looking for a team who would want to make a move at the deadline to improve but are limited due to another player's cap number and would have to shed salary first.
It would be a shrewd way for the Islanders to yield some draft assets with their rare ability to take on extra cap space.