Forwards still out there for the NY Islanders to consider before the trade deadline

Feb 22, 2024; St. Louis, Missouri, USA;  St. Louis Blues left wing Pavel Buchnevich (89) skates to
Feb 22, 2024; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; St. Louis Blues left wing Pavel Buchnevich (89) skates to / Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
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The trade deadline frenzy began yesterday with some of the top names available coming off the board.

Things kicked off with potential NY Islanders target Vladamir Tarasenko being moved to the Florida Panthers, who are gearing up for another Stanley Cup run after losing in the finals last season.

Adam Henrique went to the Edmonton Oilers, Casey Mittlestadt and Sean Walker to the Colorado Avalanche, and Noah Hanifin to the Vegas Golden Knights were some of the big names with new homes.

With a little over 24 hours remaining before the deadline, we're sure to see more movement around the league, and the Islanders are expected to be one of the teams active.

The Detroit Red Wings were blown out by the Avalanche last night, which now leaves the Isles four points (with games in hand) behind the Wings, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Philadelphia Flyers for a playoff spot.

A depleted prospect pool and not having made a first-round pick since 2019, leaves Lou Lamoriello without many assets to move, but with Scott Mayfield on LTIR, the organization has a little under $2.5M in cap space.

Here are some forwards that the Islanders could still pursue.

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A winger from the San Jose Sharks

The best fit still out there for the Islanders may be Anthony Duclair. A cap hit of $3M makes him affordable for the Islanders, especially if they can convince the Sharks to retain half his salary for the remainder of the season.

Between his speed and familiarity with Patrick Roy having played for him with the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL, Duclair could potentially be slotted anywhere on the wing in a top-9 role.

Duclair has been on fire lately, with eight points in his last four games, including a four-point performance against the Dallas Stars in his latest performance.

The Isles will surely have competition from other teams, as Duclair's low cap hit is something desired, especially for those without much cap space.

With nearly the entire roster up for grabs, Alexander Barabonov is another Sharks winger whose name is out there.

Barabonov's numbers haven't been there this season, with only 10 points (3 goals, 7 assists) through 38 games. Those numbers may not seem attractive, but he's just one year removed from a 47-point season (15 goals, 32 assists), and is currently shooting at 5.7% - well off his career average of 10.4%. He has a cap hit of just $2.5M and is in the final year of his contract. He'd cost less than Duclair, and if he could return to his average scoring pace he could be a buy-low find for the Isles.

UPDATE: Duclair traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning

Tyler Toffoli, RW/LW, New Jersey Devils

The NJ Devils have dropped in the playoff race over the last two weeks, eight points out of the Wild Card and third place in the Metro Division, and with a carousel of goaltenders that can't seem to get the job done.

General Manager Tom Fitzgerald recently said the Devils aren't looking to move on from Tyler Toffoli. Still, his contract expires at the end of the season and it would be wise to recoup some of the assets they used to acquire him over the summer.

According to James Nichols of New Jersey Hockey Now, Toffoli and the Devils are far apart in contract negotiations. Toffoli reportedly wants a 5-6 year deal, while the Devils are only looking for 3-4.

Toffoli will be a 30-goal scorer again, with 26 goals and 18 assists. He's played best alongside Jack Hughes and has struggled in his absence. Adding a player like Toffoli would allow Brock Nelson to return to his natural center position on the second line, lining Toffoli up with Bo Horvat and Mat Barzal.

Teams will be lining up for Toffoli's services if he is available, as his former team, the LA Kings, are reportedly inquiring about the winger.

Pavel Buchnevich, LW/RW, St. Louis Blues

If there's one player the Islanders would ideally acquire, it would be Pavel Buchnevich. The Russian forward is capable of playing all three positions, but would ideally fit on the Isles wing.

Buchnevich has been a point-per-game player since joining the Blues two years ago. He has 24 goals this season, on pace for a career-high.

As it's well documented that Lamoriello doesn't like to trade assets for rentals, Buchnevich's contract runs through 2024-25, with a $5.8M cap hit. According to Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff, the Blues are willing to retain 50% of his contract if the right deal arises.

Dave Pagnotta of The Fourth Period has said that the Isles are willing to move on from Oliver Wahlstrom if they can acquire a winger with term. Of course, Wahlstrom isn't enough to acquire a point-per-game player, as a first-round pick and more would need to be included for St. Louis to consider an offer.

The Isles might not have what it takes to get a deal like this done, but Lamoriello making a move of this magnitude would greatly improve the Islanders' postseason chances over the next two seasons.

Shane Pinto or Dominik Kubalik from the Ottawa Senators

The Ottawa Senators have been a team the Islanders have been very interested in surrounding this year's trade deadline, sending scouts to view the Sens multiple times.

The consensus among Islanders fans is that Shane Pinto would be the ideal player they'd like to acquire. A Franklin Square native, having one of their own leading them back to prominence would be a fairy tale, but acquiring his services may be just that.

Suspended for half the season due to violating the NHL's policy on "activities related to sports wagering," Pinto has been on one of the best stretches of his career since returning. Appearing in only 19 games this season, he's totaled 16 points (6 goals, 10 assists), while playing 17:39 a night.

At 23-years-old, Pinto signed a one-year deal over the summer at $775k. He's due a significant pay raise but will cost a boatload for the Islanders to acquire. A natural centerman, he'd allow Brock Nelson to remain on the wing of the top line, while improving center depth, sliding into the second-line role.

While in theory this is an ideal situation for all, it's highly unlikely it happens.

Dominik Kubalik is a more reasonable target, as he wouldn't cost much, and could help in the Islanders' middle-6 and power play.

He's fallen out of favor in Ottawa and could be had for a mid-round draft pick. He has nine goals and four assists this season but could see an improvement to near his 40-point per-season pace with a change of scenery.

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