As the summer wanes on, and training camp inches closer, the Islanders still lack what was their Achilles heel last season, scoring. Lou Lamoriello and the front office decided to keep the Islanders roster basically the same from last season, but there is always time for change. When training camp comes around, the salary cap becomes that much more scary, and young players and surprise veterans tend to lead to roster shake-ups. That is where I expect Lamoriello to take advantage.
Here is a look at some of the potential trade targets for the Islanders to booster their top six.
Saad was traded from the Blue Jackets to the Blackhawks for Artemi Panarin in 2017. Since Saad was traded, he has 82 points in 162 games and has averaged 20.5 goals in two seasons with Chicago. Saad’s cap hit of $6 million would fit the bill for the Islanders. To get Saad, the Islanders would probably have to package a mid-tier prospect a mid round draft pick, and a large contract that the team currently has.
Nick Leddy is a player that the Islanders would probably offer. Leddy’s production decreased from 42 points in 2017-18 to 26 last season. While this may seem alarming, this could be due to Barry Trotz’s defensive system. Leddy’s $5.5 million cap hit is about even to Saad’s.
With the Blackhawks looking to rebuild after missing the playoffs, their defense core could be boosted with adding a role model like Leddy. Adam Boqvist could model his game after the speedy Leddy.
In this trade, Josh Ho-Sang would be sent to the Blackhawks. Ho-Sang has been with the Islanders for almost a half-decade, and hasn’t been able to crack the roster. By shipping Ho-sang to Chicago, he would get a fresh start, and with the Blackhawks knack for reviving failing prospects, maybe they could replicate that with Ho-Sang.
If this trade were to happen, here is what the lines could look like:
Here is the full trade:
Islanders→ Brandon Saad, 2021 sixth-round pick
Blackhawks→ Nick Leddy, Joshua Ho-Sang, 2021 third-round pick
Coming in at the same cap hit as Saad is Nikolaj Ehlers. Ehlers is coming off a rough year where he regressed from 60 points to 37. While his overall point total decreased, his goal total only went down eight goals from 29 to 21.
The Islanders would have to give up a player like Nick Leddy or Thomas Hickey. The Jets need to boost their second and third defensive pairings. However, the Jets won’t give up their ninth overall pick in 2014 for a mere defender, so the Islanders would have to give up a higher pick as well. Since Ehlers is younger than Saad, he would come at a higher cost.
Ehlers regression wasn’t only limited to himself, however. The winger’s linemate Patrick Laine also struggled last season, only notching 30 goals compared to the previous total of 44.
By possibly trading Thomas Hickey instead of Nick Leddy, the Jets would receive a cheaper option that would save them money to sign RFAs Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor. Hickey’s cap hit is 2.5 million dollars, which would save the Jets $3.5 million, giving them extra money to sign their young stars.
If the Islanders pulled this trade off, the lines could look like this:
Here is the full trade:
Islanders→ Nikolaj Ehlers, 2021 seventh-round pick
Jets→ Thomas Hickey, 2021 second-round pick, 2022 fourth-round pick
Toffoli would be an interesting player for the Islanders at only 27 years old and a cap hit of $4.6 million. The Canadian is a great player, but really struggled last season, notching only 34 points.
While the point drop-off is alarming, you have to remember that the Kings were a bad hockey team last year securing only 71 points on the season. Toffoli is due for a bounce back season.
The Kings will be rebuilding with a younger core. After drafting Alex Turcotte, Tobias Björnfot and Arthur Kaliyev, the Kings have a future young core and can give up a veteran like Toffoli.
The Islanders would have to give up maybe a mid- to low-round pick and a young defenseman.
Sebastian Aho is an option. The reason why the Islanders would ship Aho to Los Angeles is because he is the most NHL ready prospect that the Islanders have to offer beside Noah Dobson. Recieving Aho would boost the Kings’s defense on the second of third pairing.
Scott Mayfield is another interesting player that the Islanders could look to ship away. Mayfield’s cap hit of $1.45 million is great value for a defender like Mayfield. Mayfield plays physically and most importantly has four years left on his deal. This would pave the way for a prospect like Noah Dobson and Sebastian Aho to fill that hole.
If the Isles aquired Toffoli, the lines would look like this:
Here is the full trade:
Islanders→ Tyler Toffoli
Kings→ Sebastian Aho or Scott Mayfield, 2021 fourth-round pick
Let me know what you think about these proposals in the comments below! Also, be sure to use code drive4five on SeatGeek to save $20 off tickets for next season!