One of the New York Islanders top forward trade targets is now off the board. Kevin Fiala was traded to the Los Angeles Kings last night. It took a 19th overall pick in 2022 and Brock Faber, a second-round pick from 2020 playing in the NCAA to pull the 85-point winger in 21-22 from Minnesota.
It's a cost the Islanders could have matched, but they either didn't want to or didn't have an interest in doing so. Maybe the seven-year $7.875 million cap hit is something the Islanders didn't want to do for him.
New York Islanders continue search with a top trade target off the board
Whether the Islanders were in on Fiala or not is a question that will probably never be clearly answered. But what is clear is that one of the Isles top forward trade targets is now off the board. They have to look elsewhere if they want that top-line winger.
And look, I know that defense is the number one priority for the Isles. You'd be right to say "they need more goals". True. But they have three defensemen signed for 2022-23. Not counting Noah Dobson and Robin Salo who will certainly be re-signed soon.
Even with both of them re-signed the Isles still have a singular gap on the blue line. Salo is the best defensive prospect in the system and there isn't anyone else particularly close after him. So it's not like they have another internal option to fill that gap on the top four.
The Isles need another top-four defenseman first.
That doesn't mean they won't get a forward or aren't in the market for one. They are without a doubt in the market for a forward but they might not be going for broke on a forward when they have that pressing need on the blue line.