What Would a Roster Retool Look Like for the NY Islanders?

With an aging core and a frustrating inability to close out games, the Islanders could ultimately choose a slight rebuild by the trade deadline. This is what that could realistically look like.

It might have once seemed unthinkable, but Brock Nelson would bring back an intriguing return for the NY Islanders.
It might have once seemed unthinkable, but Brock Nelson would bring back an intriguing return for the NY Islanders. / Joel Auerbach/GettyImages
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Step Two: Explore the Trade Market for C JG Pageau

The next piece to dangle would be JG Pageau. Pageau is signed for two more years after this year, with a salary cap hit of $5M (but salaries of $4M and $3.5M for the last two seasons of the deal). The fact that Pageau's salary is less than his cap hit only makes him more desirable to teams like the Arizona Coyotes, who typically need to spend to reach the cap floor, but have financial restraints preventing them from spending large amounts of real money.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau
Whether or not Pageau is ultimately traded, the Isles would be smart to at least inquire about his value on the market. / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

While Pageau's offensive game has declined over the last few seasons, he is still a strong defensive center, a great skater, and is one of the league's best in the faceoff dot. Additionally, Pageau is the kind of player beloved by old-school hockey fans: he brings a certain level of grit and heart to the team and is the kind of player you want on your side come the post-season.

Because Pageau's contract extends two more years, the Islanders do not face pressure to move Pageau now. However, if a contender comes calling, the Isles would have to listen. This would be another trade where including somebody like Aho could make sense.

Hypothetical trade: Islanders trade center JG Pageau to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for a 2025 second-round pick and a 2024 third-round pick.