The debate currently raging within sections of the New York Islanders fan base is if they should or should not trade for defenseman Jakob Chychrun. Chychrun, isn't having a particularly good year, but has 20-goal potential, from the blue line. Something that does not, last I checked, grow on trees.
And look I can be convinced of either side of the Chychrun debate. Should the Isles get him? Sure! He's a good player and getting as many good players as possible is what every team should be doing. Is it going to cost too much of the Isles future for a player that might not live up to the hype? Yeah, maybe. Losing Anthony Beauvillier, Aatu Räty, a first in 2022 and another piece is a lot. And again, Chychrun isn't having a particularly good year with two goals to his name.
But I feel like if the Islanders are going to make this type of trade (trading away four future pieces for top-end young talent) they should be looking to acquire top-end offensive talent instead. Like a 30-goal scorer in his prime type of player.
New York Islanders should target scoring winger
Obviously easier said than done and the reason Jakob Chychrun is being considered here is due to his rumored availability in the trade market. And, well, there aren't a bunch, if any, "top-end-like-30-goal-scoring-offensive-talents-in-their-prime" rumored to be available on the market.
But again, if the Islanders are going big fish hunting on the trade market they've got to go after someone that fills that immediate need for goals upfront. Remember, the Islanders don't really score a lot of goals. Since 2018-19, the Isles have 628 goals. Ranking their offensive output as 27th in the league. Isolate that stat for this year and it's worse. The Isles 64 goals-for this year ranks them 32nd in the NHL.
So who to target? It can't just be anyone. If we're looking for a Chychrun-like player but on the wing, he has to be prolific (good for 30-ish goals), young (under 25), they must be on a team that is at the part of their cycle where they would take a package of futures, and, lastly, this player is signed long-term. That last one is less of a pre-requisite but more of a "would be nice to have".
My [very] shortlist of players is Patrik Laine (Columbus Blue Jackets) or Clayton Keller (Arizona Coyotes). That's it. That's the list. They're the two players who I'd go after if the Islanders are looking to pull off a trade with (up to) four future pieces going out the door.
Both are young (still 23), both are good for 30 goals in a year, and both teams aren't competing this year and would take futures. Keller is the only one still under contract with a $7.15 million cap hit through the 2027-28 season. But again, that was "a nice to have" and not a pre-requisite.
Can they be pulled from either team? Who knows. But the point here is that the Islanders need a scoring winger more than a scoring defenseman. Either Laine or Keller are the types of players I think the Islanders should be willing to ship four pieces out the door for over Jakob Chychrun.