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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Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Forward/Washington Capitals

And finally, we have Nicolas Aube-Kubel, who would help the lower lines for the Isles get a lot younger. No, Aube-Kubel isn’t scoring, so he’s like a few players on this list who would be a younger overall version of Cal Clutterbuck and Matt Martin if he tested the market and Lou Lamoriello signed him to add a younger face to the team. 

Throughout his time in Washington, Aube-Kubel has been a proven hitter, landing nearly 240 body checks through his 100-plus contests with the Capitals. He isn’t much more than a hitter, so he would only be worth signing if guys like Clutterbuck and Martin left and Lamoriello still wanted the Isles to enter 2024-25 with the same identity. 

We know how well the Caps have played defensively at times this season, and it’s one major reason they hung onto their playoff hopes until Alexander Ovechkin and company started producing more consistently. Aube-Kubel was a big part of that defensive mindset, with an on-ice save percentage of 93.1 and just 21 on-ice goals allowed at 5-on-5. 

The only real knock on Aube-Kubel coming to a team that could opt to keep up its defense-first ways is that he wouldn’t help when the Isles are short-handed. Other than that, he would be a cost-effective signing who will help the team get younger. 

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(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference)