The Islanders are without a doubt having great success this season. They sit atop the Metropolitan Division and by far have the best defense in the NHL. The offense, however, has seen a significant downgrade since last season. As many predicted, scoring has decreased across the board. To remedy this, the Islanders absolutely need to add talent by the Trade Deadline by any means necessary to make a deep Playoff push.
As of Feb. 16, the Islanders rank 20th in goals, which is not ideal for a team primed to go far in the postseason. However, even with offensive struggles, this team is still very special. The success the Islanders have been experiencing is due to the coaching staff, goaltending and defensive structure. Although those are all essential parts of a good team, you need an offense to compliment. The Islanders just don’t have enough of it. Of course, you can point the finger at Scott Gomez and his power-play structure, but that’s not fully the issue. This team lacks a goal scorer, which the Islanders need if they want to contend this year.
Many games resulting in a loss this year have been because of the offense faltering in some way. For instance, look at the game on Feb. 1 against the Lightning. Both sides were deadlocked at zero goals until the shootout. Tampa Bay proceeded to score once on Greiss with a goal from Victor Hedman. The Islanders could not get one puck across the line against Andrei Vasilevsky. This game clearly showcased the fact that this Islanders offense isn’t one that could go deep into the playoffs or win a Stanley Cup.
The key for the Islanders to trade for skilled goal scorers at the deadline. Preferably a center, since the team has been lacking one since the beginning of the season. Incidentally, many mock trades created by Islander fans have been deals between the Islanders and the Ottawa Senators.
For instance, Matt Duchene has been talked about an ample amount by fans recently, which does make sense. As of Feb. 18, he has 54 points in his 48 games played and has been a lone bright spot on a terrible Ottawa team. The main concern here is that Duchene has a history with being unable to carry a line. Not to mention, his contract ends at the end of this season and he would likely desire a pay increase.
Ryan Dzingel has also been mentioned to a great extent, not only by fans of Long Island hockey, but around the league. Dzingel fills the scoring need, as he has amounted 41 points in 55 games. While not at a point-a-game rate, Dzingel would undoubtedly help scoring. However, there’s a catch to an acquisition for Dzingel. He is also on an expiring UFA deal, and his faceoff percentage is lower than Duchene’s, at an atrocious 39.5% as of Feb. 18. His trade value would likely be lower than Duchene’s, but it still appears to be a trade that needs to be examined thoroughly before being executed.
While the offense is still questionable, the Islanders have been finding ways to win hockey games. Nonetheless, it is necessary for the Islanders to add talent before the end of the month. And to do that, they should talk to Ottawa and make a deal.