The NY Islanders and GM Lou Lamoriello will need to take some risks in this year's free agent frenzy come July 1st in order to give this team a chance to compete in a competitive Metropolitan division. The Islanders have a few glaring needs, such as skilled forwards, power play specialists, and puck-moving defensemen, but only have about $5 million to work with in cap space. With just under one month until the beginning of the free-agent frenzy, here's another realistic target for the Islanders: Jonathan Drouin.
NY Islanders UFA Target: Jonathan Drouin
A Drouin signing would be a low-risk, high-reward type of signing if he wants to have a change of scenery on Long Island after six seasons in Montreal.
Drouin, 27, has not put up great numbers during his time as a Hab, but he also has not played a full season since 2018-19 when he put up 53 points. Last season, he only scored two goals to go along with 27 assists in 58 games. Notably, Drouin also spent time with the Players Assistance Program in 2021 due to mental health troubles and has been scratched by Martin St. Louis on numerous occasions due to his lack of defense.
So why should the Isles sign him you may ask? Well, this could be a place where Drouin can feel comfortable, supported, and given an opportunity to showcase what he can do, similar to when the Islanders signed Robin Lehner in 2018. Drouin is a fast, skill-based player and has shown flashes of creative offensive ability, which the Islanders desperately need. He had a few stretches near the end of the 2022-23 season where he looked like one of the better players on the Canadiens, but it was hard for him to stay consistent on one of the league's worst teams.
A fresh start is certainly needed for the former third-overall pick, and he likely would not cost much for any team on the open market on a low-term deal. He's not a player that the Islanders should put a large amount of focus on, but it's an idea to bring in a low-risk skilled player with the potential to bounce back.