Going into the first day of the 2022 draft, the New York Islanders are armed with the 13th overall draft pick. A pick that could significantly upgrade their prospect pool that ranks near the bottom of the NHL for relative strength.
But that's assuming they make the selection. What happens if they don't make the pick? What if they trade it on draft day?
New York Islanders draft day could be highlighted by trade
The Islanders don't need prospects. What they need is reinforcements at the NHL level. Using that 13th overall pick does the team no good in the short term. Even a 13th overall pick will take perhaps two years before they get to the NHL level.
And that's in an average organization and not one run by Lou Lamoriello. We all know Lou likes to take his time with prospects. You can call up prospects too soon but you can't call them up too late is something Lou abides by.
On that merit holding that 13th overall pick does nothing for the Islanders that want to compete for a cup as soon as next season.
Trading the pick to a team that could use it more than the Islanders for what the Islanders need now seems like the right course of action.
The Arizona Coyotes immediately jump to mind. Can a deal be worked out where the Isles give up the 13th overall selection and the Coyotes send Chychrun the Isles way? Obviously, that trade can't be one-for-one, but you get the overall idea behind the trade.
The issue for the Isles in this scenario is that the Coyotes already have three first-round picks in the draft; 3rd, 30th, and 31st.
If not Arizona, the Minnesota Wild comes to mind. The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch recently wrote about he thinks the Sens might be able to entice the Wild to move Kevin Fiala with their seventh overall pick? Perhaps with the 13th overall, the Isles could do the same?
I understand that we all want to see the Islanders bring in a top prospect. Seeing a top prospect added to the Islanders would be excellent on a personal level. As someone who follows Islanders prospects as closely as I do, adding someone of top quality is right up my alley. But the Isles are in win-now mode and prospects themselves don't help achieve that not in their first year. A trade for NHL-established players does.