The New York Islanders have four games in hand on the Boston Bruins and are just two points behind them for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. That statement is like hearing a broken record at this point in the season. Despite hot streaks and much better play, the Isles are still on the outside. They need to make a deal to get over the hump. The question is, will they?
Players the Islanders Should Deal
Dennis Seidenberg and Calvin de Haan
They have been the Islanders best shutdown pair all season. However, de Haan’s youth and Seidenberg’s contract make them an ideal pair to be dealt. Although Seidenberg has been phenomenal this season, he could be a part of a bigger trade to get the Islanders the needed firepower to contend with the best teams in the NHL. The fact that neither one of them are offensive defensemen and Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk have become far better in their own end, make Seidenberg and de Haan expendable.
He’s energetic and been a spark plug but Prince is nothing more than a fiery third liner. He’s been great in short spurts and can do a little bit of everything, but he’s not a permanent solution to the Islanders’ issues. Had Mikhail Grabovski not been injured all season, it’s doubtful Prince would have made the team out of training camp. However, he could give another team’s bottom six a jump and be a part of a package deal that nets the Isles more offensive depth.
He was a hot commodity last season and still has a great contract. Injuries the past few seasons have diminished his value, but if the Islanders do land a top six forward, it’ll be likely due to a deal involving The Hammer.
What the Islanders Need
The Islanders first line of Anders Lee, John Tavares and Josh Bailey has been a key cog in their recent success. However, they’ll need continued scoring from their bottom three lines in order to make the playoffs. While Jason Chimera, Andrew Ladd and Brock Nelson have been stellar recently, is it enough? Ryan Strome has responded well to the criticism from new coach Doug Weight, but the Isles need more.
Adding someone like Matt Duchene from the Avalanche or Gustav Nyquist from the Red Wings would make the Islanders more dynamic offensively. With such depth on defense with Scott Mayfield, Adam Pelech, Ryan Pulock and Devon Toews in the AHL or already contributing, they can afford to subtract from their defense. Thanks to the expansion draft, there’s a chance there will be a subtraction anyway.
The Islanders have been scoring in bunches of late and the only way to solidify their offense for the rest of the season is to add a legitimate scorer. With so much depth at defense and disposable parts in the form of Prince and even Nikolay Kulemin and Ryan Strome, they have the pieces to deal. The only question is whether they’ll be willing to nix the combinations that have gotten them back in playoff contention for one that has the potential to keep them there.