Jeff Skinner is unavailable.
It’s no secret that the Islanders need to improve their offense. The Isles were 22nd in the NHL in goal scoring during the regular season. The lack of a goal scorer hurt the Islanders on the power-play. At 14.5%, the Isles ranked 29th.
Skinner seemed to be the perfect fit for the team. His 40 goals season and his ability to play defense seemed to fit into Trotz defensive system. Now that he is gone, who can the Isles court?
Let’s start with the fan favorite: Artemi Panarin
Panarin is the fan favorite for the Isles to sign. His offensive abilities matched up with Mat Barzal would be the best case scenario for the Isles. While he seems to be the “dream” for the team, he’s going to be well paid and demanded. Favorites for the Russian’s talents are the Rangers and the Panthers. The Islanders are in the “second-tier” favorites, as it was said that Panarin would prefer to play in New York or Florida. So while it’s unlikely that the Isles land Panarin, it will be a dream until July 1.
Hayes was an ex-Ranger who was traded to the Jets at the Trade Deadline. As a center, he will give the Islanders depth at a position that they desperately need depth in, even after re-signing Brock Nelson, and Tanner Fritz. Hayes would add more offense to the Islanders as a second/third line center. His 55 points in 71 games would boost the Isles offensive ability. However, the Flyers, Blackhawks, and the Avalanche have all come out as favorites to sign him, and the Flyers have even acquired his rights. This is another pipe dream for New York.
Nyquist is a player that a lot of Islander fans thought of as a potential Trade Deadline addition. His 49 points in 62 and then his 11 points in 19 games with the Sharks could provide the Isles with an offensive boost. However, his more of a “pass-first” style of play isn’t what the Isles need. They need a goal scorer. However, being a player who can suit up at center, the Isles could possibly pursue the Swede. He could fit in on the second or third line.
Duchene is a player that Isle fans have long speculated may join the team. There were rumors linking him up with the Isles when he was on the Avalanche. Good thing that trade didn’t happen, but now he’s back in the rumors. His offensive skill set is obvious. He notched 71 points in 73 games played. By signing Duchene, the Isles would have a good 1-2 punch with Mat Barzal and Duchene leading the offense. But I doubt that the Isles will be signing Duchene. He has been linked to Nashville, as he was seen at a party in the Music City a few days after the Blue Jackets were eliminated.
Simmonds would be an interesting but an honest sleeper pick, especially if the Islanders do not re-sign Anders Lee. His sucesess against the Isles and his style of game could lure Lou Lamoriello to potentially sign the 30 year-old ex-Flyer. While he had a bad season, he will be looking to rebound. The right-winger could fit in for Jordan Eberle who will most likely leave the team after two years. Simmonds also could fit in for Leo Komarov, who might be bought out. Simmonds plays a simular physical style as the third liner, and he also can provide offense. Simmonds expirence against the Metropolitian Division is also a plus.
Johansson was traded to the Bruins at the deadline from the Devils. He has put up minimal point total this year, but he would add a veteran depth at left wing.
With so many potential options on the table but no clear favorite, this offseason is lining up to be interesting.