The NY Islanders' bottom-six forward who should be traded this offseason

Lou Lamoriello should just admit this mistake and cut his losses now to create more cap space.
Apr 22, 2024; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; New York Islanders left wing Pierre Engvall (18) looks
Apr 22, 2024; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; New York Islanders left wing Pierre Engvall (18) looks / James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The NY Islanders have many holes to fill this offseason. They could use a top-line left winger to pair with Mathew Barzal and Bo Horvat. The team could also use a left-handed shooting defenseman to pair with Scott Mayfield on the blue line. In a sign of good news, the NHL salary cap will increase from $83.5 million in 2023-24 to $87.7 million in 2024-25. This may be the only positive effect of inflation in the United States, huh?

However, with just $5.5 million in cap space per Spotrac, the Islanders will have to get creative in trying to improve the current roster. As we saw in game 82 of this season, young prospects like Ruslan Iskhakov and Matthew Maggio should earn an extended tryout during training camp this upcoming fall. This bodes well for a bottom-six that struggled offensively last season and has multiple restricted free agents in Cal Clutterbuck and Matt Martin.

If Lou Lamoriello is to finally consider the prospects that performed well in Bridgeport last season, that means their entry-level salaries can replace some bloated contracts on the bottom two lines. J.G. Pageau figures to be in trade conversations but still plays a critical role as an agitator on the penalty kill. His offensive struggles are not all his fault: his third-line pairings change more than the socks on our feet. However, there is one player fans would like to see moved this offseason.

Pierre Engvall's contract is not impossible to move

Pierre Engvall's role with the Islanders is very much up in the air. He was first acquired for a 2024 4th-round draft pick at the 2023 trade deadline to replace Anthony Beauvillier. Surprisingly, Engvall found immediate success playing alongside Brock Nelson and Kyle Palmieri. In 18 games, the 27-year-old forward scored 5 goals with 4 assists.

Even though Engvall helped the Islanders clinch the playoffs in 2022-23, his career performance never warranted the flustering contract negotiated by Lamoriello. Last offseason, Engvall signed a seven-year deal worth $21 million. To make matters worse, his first season since signing this contract did not give fans more confidence that Engvall could become more than a bottom-six forward. In 74 games, the 27-year-old scored 10 goals with 18 assists playing primarily on the second line.

In planning ahead for next season, Engvall cannot be penciled in next to Nelson and Palmieri again. He was a healthy scratch multiple times under both Lane Lambert and Patrick Roy for ravaging the second line's offensive consistency. Roy also did not appreciate Engvall's skillset as he wants to see more forechecking and aggressiveness defensively. In short, Engvall just does not fit the system Roy is trying to create.

For this reason, the Islanders would be better off trying to move his contract this offseason. The transaction would not be the same as Andrew Ladd's salary dump on the Arizona Coyotes in 2021. While it may be difficult, it is not impossible to imagine a team taking a chance on a soon-to-be 28-year-old two-way forward. The Isles could either take back a bad contract in search of extra draft capital or just trade the contract along with a day-two draft pick of their own. 

Regardless, it would be nice if the Islanders could have this roster spot open for a younger player who earned an opportunity this season. It would also be helpful if the team could open an extra $3 million in cap space now and in the future to acquire a player who fits the roster and offensive structure better. On the other hand, knowing Lamoriello signed Engvall's contract, he will not be moved until a different general manager takes the helm.