The ultimate list of unrestricted free agents the Islanders can steal from their Metropolitan Division rivals

The New York Islanders may not extend their season into the final weeks of April, and it’s clear they need help in free agency this offseason.

Apr 25, 2023; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) skates with
Apr 25, 2023; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) skates with / James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
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Erik Gustafsson, Defenseman/New York Rangers

Erik Gustafsson is one player on this list who would fit in rather easily with the Isles should they look for another defenseman. This isn’t to say they would get him for his current AAV of $825,000, but they also shouldn’t need to spend an incredible amount on the 32-year-old. 

Beyond the cost-effective price tag, Gustafsson’s productivity should also incentivize a team like the Isles to strongly consider him if he doesn’t re-sign with their rival. He has 30 points and six goals on the year, plus enough ice time to prove he can still handle top-four minutes if needed. 

He’s still consistent in the defensive zone to block and land checks, and his advanced statistics at 5-on-5 are still encouraging. The Rangers have scored four more goals than they have allowed while he’s on the ice at the time of this writing, and his Corsi For is still well over 50 percent. 

Okay, so this is all happening with a powerhouse team like the New York Rangers, so all of the above should look good. But consider his possession quality at even strength, which is a sound 7.2 with an xGF of 49.1 and an xGA of 41.9. Not bad, considering his actual numbers in both are still somewhere in the same realm.