Islanders trade deadline reset: Why adding a player or two could make sense now
It was solely about a 12 months in the past when Lou Lamoriello was as quiet as a mouse on Ambien on trade deadline day. On March 21, 2022, there have been 33 trades across the league with 54 gamers, however none involving the Islanders, who, at that time had been a lock to overlook the postseason. The one different crew to not make a single transaction that day was the Buffalo Sabres.
This season, in fact, the Islanders’ common supervisor already made a large splash, when the acquisition and subsequent contract extension for Bo Horvat on Jan. 30 basically kicked off NHL trade season. Horvat was a title that was excessive on everybody’s trade board, because it was inevitable that he was going to get dealt from Vancouver sooner or later.
However whereas many figured that the Horvat trade was a sign that Lamoriello was going to attempt to add as a lot as attainable to gear up for a playoff run, that hasn’t occurred simply but. And, exercise across the league is choosing up, notably on Sunday when a handful of trades had been introduced together with Ivan Barbashev from St. Louis to Vegas, Evgenii Dadonov from Montreal to Dallas, ex-Islander Nino Niederreiter from Nashville to Winnipeg, and, within the blockbuster, Timo Meier to New Jersey.
So what are the Islanders, who performed one among their extra full video games of the season on Sunday in Winnipeg in a 4-0 win, going to do earlier than Friday at 3 p.m.? Are they nonetheless wanting so as to add, promote, or may it’s a second consecutive sleepy deadline?
Whereas Lamoriello has a little bit extra time to work the telephones and see how issues play out across the league, his Islanders have proven recently that, yeah, perhaps it’s value bringing in one other piece or two.
Mathew Barzal’s week-to-week lower-body damage introduced final Monday could have been the opening to the crew’s season obituary. As a substitute, the Islanders have gained three of their final 4 since then, and stay within the high wild-card place within the Japanese Convention with 69 factors.
Credit score the veterans on the crew, particularly, for stepping up recently. Brock Nelson has been on a tear, and his purpose on Sunday was his eighth within the final 9 video games. Anders Lee scored the game-winner in Pittsburgh final Monday within the first sport with out Barzal and has six factors in his final six video games. Horvat continues to supply, together with a short-handed purpose on Sunday, his fifth in 11 video games because the trade. Even guys like Matt Martin (4 factors in his final 5 video games) and Casey Cizikas have been way more noticeable recently, with the latter organising defenseman Alexander Romanov’s purpose on Saturday after some fancy footwork within the offensive zone.
Casey Cizikas and Alexander Romanov. (James Carey Lauder / USA As we speak)
Maybe it’s a sign from the Islanders’ veteran leaders to the final supervisor that they’re severe about making an attempt to qualify for the playoffs regardless of what has been a decidedly inconsistent season for a lot of the first 5 months. Lee stated after the Barzal damage final Monday that the trade deadline selections that Lamoriello has to make are “outdoors our stuff,” and, effectively, honest sufficient. However he and everybody else can nonetheless do their half to affect how the final supervisor builds the roster, and perhaps that’s what they’re trying to do now.
And, the Islanders are nonetheless in a first rate place to qualify for the playoffs. Sure, they’ve performed extra video games than the groups round them, and so they have valuable little wiggle room. However the Penguins nonetheless look unstable, notably after their goaltending was uncovered within the two losses to the Islanders this month. Washington already dealt high defenseman Dmitry Orlov and could dump extra elements within the coming days. The Sabres are enjoying effectively, simply three factors behind the Islanders with 5 video games in hand, however they’re nonetheless the youngest crew within the league, and so they’re now going to be with out second-leading scorer Alex Tuch for the foreseeable future, whereas standout defenseman Rasmus Dahlin is injured, too.
Detroit and Florida every have 64 factors, however the Pink Wings are additionally one of many youthful groups within the NHL, and nonetheless have a detrimental goal-differential on the season (minus-5). The Panthers’ goaltending and skill to defend have been season-long points, and now Sergei Bobrovsky may need to hold the load with Spencer Knight presently within the NHL’s player help program.
Video games in hand are good to have, however there’s no assure any of the groups nonetheless beneath the Islanders are going to take full benefit of them. The case so as to add is now a reasonably sturdy one, even with the Islanders’ uneven season to date during which they’ve nonetheless misplaced extra video games than they’ve gained (31-25-7).
In the event that they do purchase, we will in all probability assume at this level that they gained’t be within the combine for any extra of the massive (or even medium-sized) fish after dealing a first-round decide for Horvat. They definitely don’t have the property to swing a deal for Jakob Chychrun, who has been most continuously linked to the Kings. Patrick Kane is a close to inevitability to land with the Rangers, in all probability sooner or later later this week. The asking worth for the Blue Jackets’ Vladislav Gavrikov “begins with a first-round decide and goes up from there,” based on Eric Duhatschek. Nashville defenseman Mattias Ekholm is a good piece that’s locked up for the subsequent three seasons at a $6.25 million AAV, however the “asking worth could be as a lot as two first-round picks,” based on Pierre LeBrun. Wild defenseman Matt Dumba may additionally have been intriguing to Lamoriello, but it surely now appears extremely probably that he’s staying put in Minnesota.
So perhaps scratch all these guys off your checklist of potential Islanders provides.
The almost certainly strategy for Lamoriello could be to attend this out and store for some bargains, because the Islanders solely have yet one more sport earlier than the deadline, on Tuesday in Minnesota. Let’s say, for instance, that nobody bites on the Flyers’ James van Riemsdyk over the subsequent few days. Would possibly the worth for the ahead dip to one thing like a fourth or fifth-round decide? In that case, that is likely to be value it from an Islanders’ perspective.
Ditto somebody like Shayne Gostisbehere, or John Klingberg, as a puck-moving defenseman is arguably simply as large of a want for the crew as one other scorer. Neither the Coyotes nor the Geese, respectively, have any want for these two gamers as they would favor to be in nearly as good a place as attainable to land Connor Bedard. If it’s 2:30 p.m. on Friday and nobody’s provided them what they had been hoping, perhaps Lamoriello can swoop at a lowered worth.
What appears evident now is that it doesn’t make a lot sense for the Islanders to promote, when the likelihood to host some playoff video games at UBS Enviornment for the primary time stays actual. Semyon Varlamov provided a reminder on Sunday of simply how precious he could be to a crew in a playoff chase, and although he didn’t should be spectacular in opposition to a lackluster Jets squad, he nonetheless made 23 saves in recording his second shutout. The Islanders’ goaltending tandem with Varlamov and Ilya Sorokin is decidedly higher than the entire Japanese Convention groups which are preventing for these two wild-card spots, and Varlamov must win some extra video games in the event that they’re to qualify.
And their different two pending unrestricted free brokers, Zach Parise and Scott Mayfield wouldn’t carry all that again in return, anyway. It’s fully attainable that Lamoriello has an settlement with Parise to not trade him anyway, whereas Mayfield — who’s had a little bit of a wobbly season at five-on-five — is extra precious to the Islanders than he could be to anybody else, as he eats up extra minutes on the excellent Islanders penalty kill than another player.
Lamoriello already is aware of moving into the playoffs is the hardest problem, and that when there, something can occur. He’s been answerable for different groups which have made stunning runs as low seeds. If that’s what he’s banking on once more, he’s nonetheless received a bit extra work to do earlier than now and Friday.
(Prime picture of Bo Horvat and Josh Bailey: James Carey Lauder / USA As we speak)