3 under-the-radar prospects the Islanders should pursue at the trade deadline

It’s looking less like the New York Islanders will be serious wild card contenders this season despite a recent winning streak, so why not pursue some prospects?

Nov 29, 2023; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) plays the
Nov 29, 2023; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) plays the / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
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The New York Islanders are in a not-so-desirable situation, given their current spot in the Eastern Conference standings and the fact they are believed to have the worst prospects pool in hockey. While they can look to pick up a few free agent prospects to add more respectability to their pool, the March 8th trade deadline also offers quite a few more possibilities. 

It depends where the Islanders ultimately end up in the standings this week, but if they remain six or more points behind the second wild card team, why keep trying to salvage what has been an, at best, above-average situation? Two seasons ago, they didn’t even make the playoffs, and last season, they ended up with just 93 points and were out of the postseason after six games. 

Therefore, you can argue the Islanders should just sell and start thinking about the future. This may be the more painful route, but is there anything to gain with trying to buy again at the deadline next to the possibility that they might make the playoffs?

Islanders have more to gain by trading for under-the-radar prospects

To be clear, this isn’t saying the Islanders need to be major sellers this week, as they have six forwards signed through 2026 or later. The Isles also have both goaltenders locked in until at least 2027, three young defensemen who will be restricted free agents in 2025, and another three signed through at least 2029. 

No, there is a team here that can make a deep playoff run, given the sheer number of seasons their more prominent players have left on their respective contracts. But this team is also beyond cash-strapped, so selling off players whose contracts are on the verge of expiring either at the end of 2024 or 2025 would be wise to consider. 

And the Isles would be even wiser to bring in some under-the-radar prospects who could be ready to play and help this team get back on track in the next season or two.