Is New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow finished making off-season moves? Does he have another move up his sleeve? Does the Islanders roster signal another move is coming? Questions abound for the Islanders.
Once restricted free agent Ryan Strome (only unsigned player on the Islanders) is signed, the Islanders will have 25 players under contract. New York has 14 forwards, 8 defensemen, and three goaltenders. Does something have to give considering that NHL rosters are 23 players? Throw in the fact a number of talented prospects such as Mathew Barzal, Michael Dal Colle and Josh Ho-Sang are pushing for spots come training camp and a major trade could happen this summer for the Islanders.
The first big question regarding the Islanders forwards is what is the state of Mikhail Grabovski in terms of health? The 32-year old center is signed for two more years but might still be dealing with concussion issues. It’s hard to see even if those concussion effects have stopped, Grabovski being able to continue to perform in the NHL.
Since 12 forwards dress per game it should be an interesting battle who will be the odd man out on a given night. At a bare minimum, it gives the Islanders great depth when injuries occur.
If New York landed a proven top six forward it could propel the Islanders into a force in the Eastern Conference. GM Snow has the forward depth both on the NHL roster and in the prospect pipeline to make such a deal a reality.
The Islanders have eight defensemen under contract. In addition, New York has the luxury of having all eight being either proven blue liners or young prospects ready for prime time. Youngsters Adam Pelech and Scott Mayfield give the Islanders incredible depth on defense.
The Islanders could trade away one of their top six defensemen and still be strong on the blue line. It gives Garth Snow the flexibility of moving a defenseman in a trade for a proven top six forward.
The Islanders currently have more depth in net then they have had in quite some time. New York has veterans Jaroslav Halak and Thomas Greiss as their top two goaltenders. In addition, they have talented youngster J.F. Berube.
Do the Islanders want to go through another season with three netminders? That poses challenges in terms of playing time both in games and in practice. Keep in mind Berube would have to clear waivers in order to be sent down to the AHL.
— Islanders Report (@islanders_fanly) July 6, 2016
The Islanders have cap flexibility even though they only have $3.65 million left of salary cap wiggle room. However, New York still has to sign RFA Ryan Strome. Keep in mind, though, the Islanders could move Grabovski and his $5 million dollar cap hit to long-term injury reserve creating quite a bit of salary cap room.
The Islanders roster maybe set come training camp. But as stated, given some of their talented prospects like Barzal who will push for an opening night spot, another big trade could be afoot.