The 2021-22 NHL season has come to an end and a Stanley Cup Champion has been named. The Colorado Avalanche put an end to the Tampa Bay Lightning's reign by winning the Stanley Cup on Sunday night in Tampa Bay. The attention now turns to the offseason where it's bound to be a busy summer for the New York Islanders. There are a number of players whose names have been dropped as "available," and Isles GM Lou Lamoriello should be in on the latest name.
According to The Hockey News' Ryan Kennedy, there are two Eastern Conference teams that are interested in Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Nicolas Hague:
Hague checks a lot of boxes for the Islanders' blue line as a young, soon-to-be 24-year-old defenseman. He was limited to just 52 games this season after injuries sidelined him on more than one occasion which was largely the story of the Golden Knights' season. Despite missing time, it was a good year for Hague who replaced Alec Martinez next to Alex Pietrangelo on Vegas' blue line. The young defenseman averaged 18:39 of TOI this season and tallied four goals and 14 points. That's fairly consistent with his 2020-21 numbers where he accrued 17 points (five goals, 12 assists) in 52 games. Analytically, Hague looks good on paper as well with a 51.81 Corsi For percentage and 52.13 Goals For percentage at even strength.
Hague is a solid, two-way defenseman that cannot only move the puck but will also bang bodies. He's somewhat of a hybrid between what the Islanders lost in Devon Toews or Nick Leddy (no that's not a direct player comparison) and a physical defenseman. His age and skillset make sense as a long-term solution and defensive partner for Noah Dobson.
Hague is set to become a restricted free agent on July 1st and the Golden Knights have little to no cap space to sign Hague, especially after extending Rielly Smith in a bit of a surprising extension. The Athletic's Dom Luczyszyn and Shayna Goldman calculate Hague's market value at $3.3 million per year, a very manageable contract for a defenseman that will allow Lamoriello to have the flexibility to improve his offense as well.
Of the potential "available" defenseman the Islanders can trade for, Hague should be closer to the top of their list. The Islanders need a defenseman and the Golden Knights can't afford another contract. There's surely potential for Golden Knights GM Kelly McCrimmon and Lamoriello to help each other out here.