With the New York Islanders sitting between contention and contender status, it comes as no surprise that they will be big players at the trade deadline. Many names have been tossed around, but fans and analysts alike have lacked originality in coming up with trade targets. Guys like Tyler Toffoli and Jean-Gabriel Pageau are not going to catapult the Islanders into the Stanley Cup conversation. If general manager Lou Lamoriello wants to make a splash on Feb. 24, who should he go after?
Josh Anderson was one of the best players on the Columbus Blue Jackets last season, tied for third on the team in goals with 27. He was setting himself up for a big pay-day as a restricted free agent after the 2019-20 season but has taken a significant step back. With only four points, he has completely changed his outlook with the Blue Jackets, from potential franchise cornerstone to trade candidate. Although he is no longer in GM Jarmo Kekäläinen’s plans, he could be in Lou Lamoriello’s. Anderson’s value has dipped so considerably that he could be had for only a middle-level prospect and late-round draft pick.
The best part of Anderson’s game is his ability to throw his body around and score goals. He is the prototypical power forward, and could seamlessly fit in the Islanders’ system. The only negatives associated with acquiring the 25-year-old are that the Islanders still need to sign Mathew Barzal, Devon Toews, and Ryan Pulock. Add Anderson to that discussion, and a precarious salary situation becomes an even tighter one. By shipping some salary to the Ohio capital, his projected contract of around $4 million now seems manageable.
Mikael Granlund would be a relatively easy rental option for the Islanders. He has not worked out for the Nashville Predators after being traded from Minnesota last season. Historically, he’s been a 50-point performer but has struggled thus far. The Islanders do not have a true 3C since Derick Brassard has looked more productive on the wing, and they will be in the market to boost their third-line. Granlund could stabilize the
David Poile wants to unload Granlund at all costs, and he could be had for a mid-level draft pick. If the Predators were willing to part with him by acquiring a third and a fifth-round pick, the Islanders must consider him as a rental option.
If the Islanders want to make a trade deadline move for a guy with some term, Miles Wood could be an intriguing option. He plays similarly to that of Anthony Beauvillier, but a lot more physical. Wood’s contract may be a bit pricey for what he brings to the table at a little under $3 million per year. Consequently, the New Jersey Devils have explored the idea of eating some cap to make
Wood is not the type of guy that will change the fortunes of your franchise, yet he would be a perfect addition to the third line. He’d be the cheapest option out of the two players previously mentioned, and the Islanders would only have to part with a third-round pick. Lou Lamoriello has shown a tendency to acquire guys with multiple years left on their contracts, could Wood fit the bill?
With the Islanders likely to be active during the trade deadline, they’re looking to improve their offense and third line. Wood, Granlund, and Anderson could all address different needs. There are always some players that go under the radar at the trade deadline, but all three players could play significant roles on a playoff team. If Islanders management wants to make a splash for a Cup run, they could improve their odds at the trade deadline.