Going into this year’s trade deadline, it was unknown whether or not the Islanders were going to make some moves to improve their offensive core. However, with Anders Lee missing the rest of the season with a torn ACL, it seems as if the Islanders have to make a move now, especially with more salary-cap flexibility. They could be looking to get a big fish, or maybe more of a depth piece. Lou Lamoriello has the option to add someone to put alongside Barzal, or someone to fit onto the 2nd/3rd line with playoff experience and would be a good powerplay piece. Here are some mock trades for players the Islanders might be interested in.
Islanders Acquire: Kyle Palmieri
Devils Acquire: 2021 2nd Rd Pick, 2021 5th Rd Pick
I think out of all of the rumors surrounding the trade deadline, this trade might be the most likely move Lou Lamoriello would make. He’s shown a tendency of acquiring his former players, and he’d be a good fit for this squad. I could see him fitting on any of the top-3 forward lines, but I’d find it most likely for him to be on the 2nd line with Bailey and Nelson if Trotz wants to keep working Pageau and Wahlstrom on the 3rd line. I’d find it very unlikely that he’d work 3 right-handers on the same line. Palmieri has 6 goals and 9 assists in 30 games so far. He’s had a down year, so the price shouldn’t be as high as it might’ve been a few years prior. Palmieri would be a good addition for the Isles, solidifying their depth.
Islanders Acquire: Taylor Hall
Sabres Acquire: 2021 1st Rd Pick, 2021 2nd Rd Pick, 2022 4th Rd Pick
In the offseason, Taylor Hall signed a 1-year deal with the Sabres. This move hasn’t really worked out for Buffalo as he only has 2 goals in 32 games so far. I believe that the Isles shouldn’t have to give up as much as the Coyotes did for him last year, given that this has been the worst season of his NHL career. Hall would fit on the 1st line alongside Barzal and Eberle or would be a good option to put alongside Nelson and Bailey. I think Hall would benefit from playing with Barzal and Eberle more. He hasn’t lived up to his expectations this year and I think that if Lou were to pull the trigger, this is the package he should give up. He was a Hart Trophy winner with the Devils in 2017-18, but he really hasn’t been the same player since. He’s been hit by injuries and has played on some bad teams over the past 3 seasons. I think if he’s put in the right situation, we could see Hall return to his MVP form. However, with the Isles pending UFA’s, he would definitely just be a rental for a Stanley Cup run this year.
Islanders Acquire: Filip Forsberg
Predators Acquire: 2021 1st Rd Pick, 2022 2nd Rd Pick, 2022 3rd Rd Pick, Robin Salo, Josh Bailey
The first thing most people will find eye-opening in the package is long-time Islander Josh Bailey. He’s been an Islander his entire career, as he’s in his 14th season. Forsberg has performed well under a defensive system in Nashville. He’s been a consistent 20-30 goal scorer throughout his career, and he possesses an elite shot. So far, he has 11 goals and 18 assists, totaling in 29 points. He could definitely fit on that first line with Barzal and Eberle, as he’d play on the left-wing. He has a lot of playoff experience and was a part of the 2016-17 Cup Final team in Nashville. Both he and Bailey have a contract through next season, so I think this would be the most proper swap. Trading Bailey would certainly be tough, but if the Isles want to make a push for the Cup, sometimes you need to make those moves.
Islanders Acquire: Rickard Rakell
Ducks Acquire: 2021 1st Rd Pick, 2021 3rd Rd Pick, Ruslan Ishikov
Rakell has certainly shown what he’s capable of. He scored 33 goals in 2016-17 and put up 34 in 2017-18. His numbers have decreased significantly as the team is in the rebuilding phase. His value might be down, which is good for the Isles, as they won’t have to give up as much. He’s put up 21 points in 34 games thus far and he would definitely benefit from more talent around him. The Ducks virtually have no offensive firepower, and he could definitely receive a boost from a player like Barzal. I think he could work on the 1st or 2nd line, depending on how Trotz would want to split it up. He’d be another good force on the powerplay unit, as he possesses a nice shot and good playmaking abilities. This is an estimate of what a package for Rakell would look like, as he’s in his mid-20’s.
There are many more trade possibilities for the Isles, but I believe that these 4 players are already on the Isles radar, and Lou would most likely make a move for 1 of these 4 players. With Lee being out, we all expect Lamoriello to make a move for a deep playoff run and it’ll be interesting to see how everything turns out. Let’s hope he’ll make another splash this year.
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