At Lou Lamoriello's end-of-season press conference, he mentioned the team has five natural centermen. There has been a lot of speculation since then that maybe the New York Islanders would trade a center this off-season to help the team in other areas.
There are major issues with the Isles trading a center this summer.
Major Issues Trading a Center
On paper taking the position that the Isles have five natural centermen and moving one in a trade to help another area of need makes sense. But when you look at the dynamics of the Isles centers it doesn't add up.
First off three of the Isles centermen are in their top-six in Matthew Barzal, Bo Horvat, and Brock Nelson. If Lou Lamoriello was to trade J.G Pageau then one of the Isle's top players would be centering the third line. The Isles are a four-line team but having Barzal, Horvat, or Nelson center the 3rd-line doesn't make sense.
Also, one of the big reasons the Isles traded for Horvat was to have two top players in Barzal and Bo be on the same line. Trading a center would not allow the Isles to play this dynamic duo together other than on the power play.
The Isles currently don't have a youngster in the prospect pool to hand over one of their center positions if they were to trade a center such as Pageau. If Aatu Raty was not included in the Horvat deal and was still with the Isles, then it makes sense that they could slide Raty in as the third-line center and move Pageau. Maybe sometime next season Isles prospect Ruslan Iskhakov will be able to take over that role but right now that is not the case.
When it comes to trades one should have an open mind and be creative. However, trading one of the Isles' centers doesn't add up unless the blue and orange would land an impact winger or puck-moving defenseman. Impact means a top-line player.
If the Isles were to engage in trade talks where they would be moving a center, the only center on their roster that makes sense is Pageau. Lamoriello will not trade one of his top players in Barzal, Horvat, or Nelson. While there would be interest in Pageau, his trade value would not bring a huge return in terms of player(s) that can help this team now. It would also cause all the issues mentioned above.
The bottom line given the Isle's centermen it's hard to see a trade where they move one of them and that would be beneficial for the Islanders when one considers all the ramifications. By the way, it's not a terrible thing having five natural centers on the roster.