How the NHL trade deadline neither helped nor hurt the Islanders

The Islanders were one of those teams you could argue to buy, sell, or even remain idle, and when the NHL trade deadline arrived, they did the latter.

Boston Bruins v New York Islanders
Boston Bruins v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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The New York Islanders were one team that you didn’t know if they would buy or sell in the days leading to the 2024 NHL trade deadline. And when the deadline came, they didn’t make a single move. Their last trade occurred in December when they acquired Robert Bortuzzo for a seventh-round pick from the St. Louis Blues, so was it a good idea for general manager Lou Lamoriello to hold out?

The Isles are one of those strange hockey teams this season that is just outside of a wild card spot, thanks to their recent winning streak, but that’s also about as good as it’s gotten this season, thanks to so much inconsistency. You could be critical of this organization’s lack of moves, but besides their inconsistent play, New York was also cash-strapped, so go figure. 

Islanders holding idle at the NHL trade deadline makes sense, but…

This is one of those arguments that can go either way, as making moves at the deadline might have helped the team, but it also would have made a bad cap situation worse. And if ‘buying’ at the deadline didn’t help, then they’re a talented team stuck in an awful cap situation, even if they could have talked other teams into retaining contracts. 

New York could have even ‘sold’ a few players whose contracts would have expired following next season and ‘bought’ some prospects to replenish their less-than-stellar pool. Once again, you could have argued the technique would help, but you could also see why it would have hurt the Isles in the short term. Trade a pair of players like Brock Nelson and Kyle Palmieri, and you’re getting rid of a pair of dynamic talents. 

Regardless of what the Islanders would have done, they were that one team that would have acquired the perceived pros and cons of buying or selling at the trade deadline. By standing idle, they didn’t help their team, but you can also honestly say they didn’t exactly hurt it, either. 

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(Information provided by Cap Friendly)