4 Potential Trade Targets the Islanders Need to Watch This Season

The New York Islanders are entering the 2022-23 season hoping to rebound from last season and prove that the playoff absence was an outlier from an otherwise talented roster. While general manager (GM) Lou Lamoriello kept the team together and had a quiet offseason, it’s possible and even likely that he will make a splash at some point this season, especially if the Islanders are competitive.

Related: Islanders 2022-23 Season Preview

Lamoriello might not aggressively make a move but he will wait for the best offer to help out the team. While his patience resulted in a quiet and underwhelming offseason, it doesn’t exclude him from making a big trade in the upcoming season to help put the Islanders over the top in hopes of winning the Stanley Cup. Specifically, Lamoriello will target the forward position with hopes of adding a top-six skater to the offense.

General manager Lou Lamoriello
CHICAGO, IL – JUNE 24: General manager Lou Lamoriello of the Toronto Maple Leafs looks on during the 2017 NHL Draft at United Center on June 24, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

Some of the forwards that Lamoriello would have targeted are now unavailable, notably, J.T. Miller who signed a seven-year deal with the Vancouver Canucks before the season started. However, there are still a handful of forwards that the Islanders can make a deal to acquire throughout the season.

Patrick Kane

The player every team will be watching throughout the season will be Patrick Kane. The three-time Stanley Cup winner and elite talent is a free agent at the end of the year and with the Chicago Blackhawks in the middle of a difficult rebuild, they will look to possibly move him ahead of the trade deadline. While the Blackhawks are going to cautiously move the face of their franchise, an overwhelming offer by any NHL team will make the decision easier for GM Kyle Davidson and the front office.

Patrick Kane Chicago Blackhawks
Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The Islanders adding Kane to the top-six would immediately transform their offense into one of the best in the NHL. As a distributor, he would provide scoring chances to Brock Nelson and Anders Lee while filling a void at the right wing position as well. Furthermore, Kane is a playoff-proven skater that helped lead the Blackhawks to three titles and could help carry the Islanders in a deep playoff run as well.

The obstacles the Islanders face are what make a Kane trade unlikely. For starters, the Blackhawks have to be willing to move one of the most iconic players in the history of their franchise, and even at 33 years old, he can be a key player to help the team rebuild. Additionally, the Islanders would need to blow the Blackhawks away with an offer, possibly sending three or more pieces to acquire him.

The second issue the Islanders face involves Kane, specifically, his no-trade clause. If he is going to be moved at the deadline, he will have a strong say in his next destination. Teams like the New York Rangers, Buffalo Sabres, and the Edmonton Oilers come to mind but ultimately, he will want to join a Stanley Cup contender that he could potentially finish his career with.

Pierre-Luc Dubois

The Winnipeg Jets are an interesting team to monitor throughout the upcoming season. Like the Islanders, they are looking to prove that last season, where they went 39-32-11 and missed the playoffs, was an outlier. However, in a competitive Central Division with an aging core, the Jets could be heading into a rebuild if they struggle again this season. It’s unlikely they will tear down their roster but trading Blake Wheeler, Mark Scheifele, and Pierre-Luc Dubois are all in play. Dubois in particular could be moved considering the possibility of him heading to free agency at the end of the season as a pending restricted free agent but also a top-six center that any playoff team would look to add.

Pierre-Luc Dubois Winnipeg Jets
Pierre-Luc Dubois, Winnipeg Jets (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The Islanders adding Dubois would require some flexibility within the top-six as they would likely have to bump Nelson or Mathew Barzal to the wing. However, the move would still elevate the forward unit and as a two-way center, round out the roster for a playoff run. The problem specifically with acquiring Dubois is his interest in playing with the Islanders, especially after his contract expires, making him a rental addition rather than a long-term one.

Timo Meier

Timo Meier will play the upcoming season on the last year of a four-year contract he signed in 2019. The San Jose Sharks will hope to re-sign one of their best players who is integral to their forward unit. However, with the team in the middle of a rebuild, they will likely consider a trade to help out the roster if an extension can’t be done ahead of the 2023-24 season. Moreover, the team already has $27.6 million of their cap space committed to three players, and another massive deal would leave even less flexibility to add depth players to help out the rebuild.

Timo Meier San Jose Sharks
Timo Meier, San Jose Sharks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Meier is one of the under-the-radar players that the Islanders can acquire that would round out the forward unit. Playing on the right wing, he would consistently create scoring chances while also finding the back of the net with quick shots in the offensive zone. Specifically, he can play alongside Barzal and provide a scoring presence that the team lacked last season. Lamoriello would need to make an intriguing offer to the Sharks to acquire Meier considering his age and consistency, possibly requiring him to send a top prospect and a draft selection in return. However, the move would pay off immensely for the Islanders and their offense.

David Pastrnak

The Bruins will enter the upcoming season with eight pending free agents. They re-signed Patrice Bergeron to a one-year deal and the team will enter this season going all-in to win the Stanley Cup. The problem is if the Bruins struggle early in the season, a likely scenario considering defenseman Charlie McAvoy is out for multiple months. A step back will likely prompt them to trade away some of their star players to kickstart a rebuild and the player that would headline such a move is David Pastrnak.

David Pastrnak, Boston Bruins
David Pastrnak, Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The Bruins might be hesitant to move Pastrnak to a team within the Eastern Conference like the Islanders, especially if he decides to re-sign with them after the season. Likewise, as with Kane and the Blackhawks, Pastrnak is the type of player that the Bruins can build around as he’s 26 years old and in the prime of his career. At the same time, the Islanders could make a move for him at the trade deadline and if the right prospects are made available, a trade might be possible.

Pastrnak would not only be a splash for the Islanders but a unique spark to the offense. As a well-rounded skater, he can create scoring chances while also setting up shots for himself on the wing. Oftentimes, he has carried the Bruins’ offense and with the Islanders, he would do the same but with a deeper forward unit. Pastrnak is a top-line skater and would give the offense the elite player it needs for a deep playoff run.

Other Forwards the Islanders Could Target

The St. Louis Blues are another team that the rest of the league will monitor this season. While they are built to compete for the Stanley Cup, a tough Central Division schedule and injuries to key players like defenseman Marco Scandella, who is out for the next six months, could see them trading away players at the deadline. The Islanders could try to acquire Vladimir Tarasenko and Ivan Barbashev, two forwards that are playing in the final years of their contracts. Tarasenko is a top-line player that would be a splash addition but Barbashev would also boost the Islanders as a middle-six forward who is coming off a year where he scored 26 goals and 34 assists.

The Islanders are entering this season with a veteran-heavy roster looking to win now. While the offseason was a quiet one for Lamoriello, he will monitor the struggling teams in the NHL and if the right offer is available, he’ll make a move. In 2020, he acquired Jean-Gabriel Pageau from an Ottawa Senators team looking to rebuild, and in 2021, he added both Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac with the New Jersey Devils looking to move on from both players. If the Islanders are having a great season, they could add that missing piece to put them over the top.

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