As the NHL season starts shifting towards the playoffs, one particular event starts to appear insight: the NHL Trade Deadline. When it comes to the Trade Deadline, fans all around to sport become intrigued by what their favorite teams are going to do: buy or sell. Fans from all over try to predict where players are going to land, which team goes in all in, or which team tears it down. The Trade Deadline is an essential event for most NHL teams. It can often provide a contender with the final piece they need for their Stanley Cup run, or it can provide a bubble team with the pieces they need to get into the playoffs. On the other side, the deadline additionally can provide a basement team with much-needed draft picks to jump-start its future. So, how does all this relate to the New York Islanders?
A of right now, the Islanders are buyers. In all likely cases, the Islanders will remain buyers. The team’s defense is good enough to allow them to keep pulling out wins to keep them in a playoff spot. The big question is, what will the Islanders do at the Trade Deadline? Will they remain quiet and not make a move, or will they be active and go all in? The answer is likely neither. Most likely, the Islanders will take a path somewhere in the middle, making a conservative move, if anything.
Last season, we saw the Islanders stand pat at the deadline, and the move seemed genius during the first round against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Obviously, it didn’t seem like they did enough against the Carolina Hurricanes, where they had a lack of scoring. When the Islanders played the Penguins, they were able to sweep them, relying heavily on their defense during all four games. They did not have to score a ton of goals to win. They just had to score enough and prevent Pittsburgh from scoring. During the Hurricanes series, they needed offense to win, and they did not get that.
This season, the Islanders are showing similar patterns to last year’s team with a solid defensive group and low offensive numbers. The big belief from most Islanders fans is that if the team can add more scorers, the group can be a real contender. What is reasonable to give up for a goal scorer that adds great depth to the offense?
It’s easy to be impatient and live in the moment, forgetting about the future. Fans want to win now, not tomorrow. Islanders fans have to realize they their prospect pool is not as deep as other teams, and players such as Kieffer Bellows, Oliver Wahlstrom, Noah Dobson, and Bode Wilde, are too talented to use as a trade piece for a depth scorer or rental. Also, draft picks are key for the Islanders, and it would be tough to move picks, especially their first-rounder.
The Islanders still have a lot of time as their core is young and their stars are locked up for the near future, meaning the team is not facing a situation where the majority of their top players are at the peak of their careers. There’s no way of truly knowing, but most likely, the Islanders have not reached their utmost potential yet. If the team has room to improve and grow, putting all their chips on the table would be a huge mistake as the Islanders. If the Islanders were to gut their future just for a depth goal scorer, it would most certainly not be worth it.
With that being said, the best course of action for the Islanders is not to do nothing. Lou Lamoriello needs to find a way to add depth without giving up too much. There’s no need to gut the future for a player, but giving up a mid-tier prospect or a pick isn’t that harmful.