The NY Islanders shouldn't try to trade defensemen Ryan Pulock or Adam Pelech

Nashville Predators v New York Islanders
Nashville Predators v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

Three summers ago, the extensions for New York Islanders defensemen Adam Pelech and Ryan Pulock were universally lauded moves by GM Lou Lamoriello. The two had blossomed into a shutdown pair during back-to-back deep playoff runs, and now they would be joined 'by the hip' for the next eight years, just as they were entering their prime.

While there's a temptation to see whether you can move one of them to help bolster the offense, the reality is that the Islanders, as an organization, do not have the depth on the blue line to replace either one of them next season. First off, both have full No Trade Clauses (NTC) next season, so the likelihood of either waving it to leave Long Island. Next, and more importantly, the team can't afford to be without either one in the short term.

That's become increasingly apparent each of the last two seasons as both Pulock and Pelech missed extended time. The team struggles with either one out of the lineup, and after both found themselves on the injured list this season, Lamoriello was forced into action, claiming Mike Reilly off waivers and trading for Robert Bortuzzo.

We don't know yet if either Reilly or Sebastian Aho will be back, and it was likely a one-and-done for Bortuzzo on Long Island. That leaves Samuel Bolduc as the current sixth defenseman on the roster after a slightly disappointing sophomore season where he failed to assert himself in minimal opportunities. Neither Dennis Cholowski nor Robin Salo were options last year, either.

Perhaps there's help coming with recent draft picks Calle Odelius or Isaiah George, but both are years away from being an option at the NHL level. If the Islanders were to suffer one injury to any of their top five defensemen, the perceived strength of the team quickly becomes a weakness.

So, while ideas and rumors swirl about Pulock going home to Winnipeg for 25-goal scorer Nikolaj Ehlers, think long and hard as to how the Islanders would fill the void left on the blue line and think even harder as to what would happen when an inevitable injury happens next season.

There may come a time when trading Pulock or Pelech becomes a realistic possibility, but given where the Islanders are as an organization, one still trying to become a contender, moving top-four defensemen isn't in their best interests, even if the players in question have taken a step back.