There's a should they/shouldn't they dance going on for the New York Islanders. And it relates to Scott Mayfield. Should or shouldn't the Islanders trade the right-shot defenseman now?
Of course, the answer isn't black and white. The answer to that question depends. It depends on what the Islanders can get back for the defenseman. How about a first-round pick and a player? Would that be enough to entice the Islanders to move him?
New York Islanders: Should they trade Scott Mayfield?
It sure should. In his latest piece (subscription required), The Athletic's Kevin Kurz mused that a first-rounder and "a player that could play right away" would be a great place to start if the Islanders are willing to listen to offers on their right-shot d-man.
A great place to start. Ok.
If a team calls to offer the Islanders a first-round pick and an NHL player the Islanders should take it. That's a great return for Scott Mayfield.
To be clear, Scott Mayfield is worth that first-rounder. Every deadline, teams routinely ship out second-round picks to get an aging bottom pair defenseman on an expiring contract. Mayfield is still in his 20's (he turns 30 in October), he's a pretty good shut down defenseman, elite on the PK (at least according to Barry Trotz), and doesn't shy away from the physical side of the game.
Top all of that off with a wickedly cap-friendly $1.45 million deal this year and next, and you see why Mayfield is worth at least a first-round pick.
If someone comes offering a first and a player, the Islanders should take it. There should be no question from the Isles. Getting that kind of return for Mayfield is simply "an offer you cannot refuse".
Too big a gap?
But does moving Mayfield open too many gaps on the blueline? Keep in mind Zdeno Chara and Andy Greene (both are on expiring contracts) could be traded by the deadline. And they might not be re-signed next year even if they aren't traded. Remember, Chara turns 45 in a few days while Greene turns 40 at the end of October.
Losing half the blue line is a lot of openings to fill for 2022-23 season.
But consider that Robin Salo should be ready for the NHL next season. That's one less spot to worry about.
With a first-rounder coming back for Mayfield the Isles will have enough pieces to make a trade for a top-four defenseman. So that, along with Salo, should take care of two openings. Leaving just one spot on the bottom pair open.
And honestly, that's OK. Having an opening or two, specifically for a bottom-tier role like 3rd pair defenseman, is fine to have when training camp opens. The Islanders will have a number of players competing for that spot in September, from veteran guys in the system, prospects, and even guys on PTOs. And the Isles can pick the best one of the group.
Having one position to fill going into the 2022 season isn't a bad thing to have.
So taking this type of return for Mayfield might open yet another gap for the Isles next season, it's not a gap they can't close. Again, they should take this return for Mayfield.