The New York Islanders are continuing to make a push for the Stanley Cup playoffs and surpass teams in the Metropolitan Division. The Islanders have won 15 of their 36 games and in the second half of the season, they will continue to improve their record in the Eastern Conference. At the trade deadline, the team looks poised to make a move to acquire a talented player to only further improve the roster.
A team that will be looking to trade some of their star players in the Seattle Kraken, who are having an inaugural season to forget with the worst record in the Pacific Division. Despite winning only 14 of their 43 games this season, the Kraken have plenty of key contributors on their roster that can help any team in the second half of the season.
The Islanders lost Jordan Eberle in the expansion draft as he was one of the few star players left unprotected by Lou Lamoriello and the front office. Eberle has been one of the best forwards on the Kraken this season, with an All-Star caliber season scoring 12 goals and adding 12 assists to the offense. The 31-year-old forward has a modified no-trade clause and will have a strong say in where he can be traded but the Islanders could be on the veteran scorer’s shortlist of teams considering some of the best years in his career were in New York.
The Islanders would have to work around Eberle’s contract which is $5.5 million for the next three seasons. Likewise, the top forward on the Kraken will require a high asking price, possibly a top prospect like Aatu Raty or future draft picks. However, the Islanders acquiring Eberle would instantly help the struggling offense as the talented forward would reunite with Mathew Barzal and Anders Lee on the top line.
The Islanders might be looking for a star forward at the trade deadline that can not only find the back of the net but also create scoring chances and find skaters near the net with great passes. However, the Islanders can also acquire a forward that adds scoring to middle lines as 30-year-old Calle Jarnkrok has done throughout his career.
Jarnkrok was a depth scorer for the Nashville Predators before being selected by the Kraken in the expansion draft, scoring 10 goals or more in six consecutive seasons. Jarnkrok has scored seven goals and eight assists for the Kraken and has been particularly effective on the rush where he takes advantage of his speed. The 30-year-old forward is a pending free agent and provides versatility to the forward unit, making him likely to be moved at the deadline and despite not being a star scorer, would add value to the Islanders’ later forward lines.
The Kraken have one of the worst defenses in the NHL, allowing 3.60 goals per game. However, one of the few bright spots on the defensive unit has been Carson Soucy. The former Minnesota Wild defenseman has 1.9 defensive point shares and 37 blocked shots as well as six goals and seven assists on the offensive end of the ice, highlighted by a two-goal game against the San Jose Sharks. Soucy isn’t an unrestricted free agent until after the 2022-23 season, but the 27-year-old defenseman will garner a lot of attention around the league and the Kraken can receive a strong return as a result.
The Islanders acquiring Soucy would help the team with multiple issues on the defensive unit. While the defense has been a strength of the Islanders, the team has struggled to find scoring from the blue line, an issue that became prevalent following the team trading Nick Leddy to the Detroit Red Wings in the offseason. Likewise, the defense has struggled from the left side of the defense with Zdeno Chara playing the position on one of the defensive pairings but at 44-years-old, playing slower in both the neutral zone and at the offensive blue line. Soucy would likely play alongside Noah Dobson and form a great defensive pairing that would impact both the offensive and defensive end of the ice.
Other Kraken Players the Islanders Can Acquire
The Kraken captain, Mark Giordano is an intriguing player to watch at the deadline as he is a veteran defenseman on an expiring contract. The Islanders will likely express interest in Giordano to play the left-side defenseman position, but the 38-year-old veteran has a modified no-trade clause and if traded, will go to one of the teams already favored to win the Stanley Cup. Joonas Donskoi is another intriguing skater on the Kraken as a veteran forward that also has previous playoff experience with the Colorado Avalanche and the San Jose Sharks and is a free agent after the 2022-23 season. Ultimately, the Islanders are going to pursue the ideal trade with the roster in mind and look for a skater that fills a clear void on the team.
Mike Fink joined The Hockey Writers in November 2020 and covers the New York Islanders. In addition to covering the Islanders, Fink has written for multiple sports blogs and platforms covering the NHL, NFL, MLB, and college sports. Follow Mike on Twitter @Finks_thoughts for more Islanders and general hockey insights.