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Going over Islanders four offseason priorities

Tampa Bay Lightning v New York Islanders
Tampa Bay Lightning v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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Johnny Gaudreau
Calgary Flames v Dallas Stars - Game Six / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

Top line Winger

The Isles have needed more "pop" upfront for years now. At least since 2018-19 when the Lou Lamoriello era began (and arguably before that). The Isles are ranked 25th in the NHL since 2018-19 in terms of goals-for. Again, they need more offense.

Getting that offense has been a struggle for the Isles. Now, there haven't been too many options available to them to bring in. But still, they haven't brought anyone in over those years. Now they have to get some. There's no option not to.

Strictly looking at pending UFAs, Johnny Gaudreau or Filip Forsberg are great options for the Islanders. Gaudreau seems like the best option of the two, but either would do.

Of course, Calgary will try to retain their star player. But they still have to sign RFA wingers Mathew Tkachuk and Andrew Mangiapane. The $27.5 million in cap space the Flames have doesn't seem like enough to get all three (including Gaudreau) re-signed for 22-23. So it's possible the 115-point pending UFA winger shakes loose.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. The Islanders have to go all-in on Gaudreau if he's available. Since 2014-15, only five players in the entire NHL have more points than Johnny Gaudreau. Putting him on the wing with Mathew Barzal down the middle could be a hell of a duo.

If free agency doesn't prove fruitful, as in both Gaudreau and Forsberg are either re-signed by their respective clubs or the Isles are out bid by another team, going the trade route is the next option. Of the obvious, trade candidates, Minnesota Wild Kevin Fiala is the best option.

Putting up 85 points in 82 games seems like the right output for the Isles. Getting him won't be cheap of course, but the Isles aren't in a position to get bashful at the cost for an upgrade to the offense.

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