NY Islanders News

Youth emergence make Islanders trade plan murky

Nashville Predators v New York Islanders
Nashville Predators v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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Everyone within the New York Islanders fanbase is talking about trading for Arizona Coyotes Jakob Chychrun. But is that really the target the Islanders need right now?

I get that Chychrun is a flashy name on the market and has shown that he can score a lot of goals from the blue line. With the emergence of Noah Dobson as not only a top-four but top-pair right-handed defenseman, the Isles have solid defensive depth right now.

So maybe a scoring winger should be the priority when it comes to the trade deadline (Assuming they're buyers)?

New York Islanders trade target plan is murky

Sure, getting a winger that can score 25-30 goals would be huge for the Islanders. But just like with Dobson's impact on the blue line, the Isles have a youngster (more like two) making an impact on the wing this season.

Just like his fellow Islanders 2018 first-round pick Noah Dobson, Oliver Wahlstrom is having quite an impact on the Islanders lineup. With eight goals and 15 points in 26 games this year, Wahlstrom is on pace for 25 goals and 46 points.

Now consider that most of his production was done in a third-line role. He's been moved up to the top line recently and now that both Mathew Barzal and Wahlstrom are healthy you'd have to expect the two will get some significant playing time together. Which could be even more productive for both players.

Then the Isles have Kieffer Bellows who is finally stepping up at the NHL level. The 2016 first-round pick by the Isles has taken some time to make an impact but he's making the very best of his current opportunity with the club.

Since December 4th Bellows has put up seven points (3G and 4A) in seven games. It's hard to see Bellows keep up that point-per-game play the rest of the season, but what is clear is that he's ready for a full-time NHL spot.

So will the Islanders go out and pick up a player that will, at the very least, push one of these guys down? Just like Bellows being a point-per-game player by the end of the year, I have a hard time seeing that.

They're finally getting solid contributions from guys on ELC's. Dobson, Wahlstrom, and Bellows hold a combined $2.538 million cap hit (3.1% of the cap) but account for 25% of the goals and 23% of the points scored by the Isles.

The Islanders have been waiting for this type of low-cost contribution for years now. Unless they can get a significant upgrade on either of them (a prospect that remains unlikely) you don't move them out or even down the lineup.

So when it comes to trading what should the Isles be looking for? Clear upgrades on these young players but again, that remains unlikely.

*Edited to reflect that Chychrun is not a right-shot defenseman but shoots left.

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