The New York Islanders are in the trade market for a defense-man that can help the team this season, and for once in his nearly eight year tenure as General Manager, Garth Snow is dealing from a position of power. For once, Snow has the assets that people want and is not desperate to dump off an expiring contract or give up too much for a player He is taking a chance on. This time, Snow is not the dog at the bottom of the table begging for the scraps, but rather sitting tall at the head of the table. This time around, Snow has the options, assets and a ton of cap space to pull off a big trade for an impact defense-man.
With the signings of Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin,the Islanders currently have 16 forwards under one way contracts for next season. They have forwards that will need to be either traded or waved before the start of the season, so they can trim their roster down to NHL size. Under performing veterans such as Michael Grabner and Josh Bailey may be some players to be on the look out for and according to TSN Insider Darren Dreger, Bailey is a trade target for many teams. The 2008 first round pick has four years and over 14 million dollars left on his current contract. Teams must see potential and a player that needs a change of scenery in Bailey, because the numbers are certainly not staggering. But whatever they see, let’s hope it’s enough that they offer a nice return for the inconsistent forward.
The depth of the Islanders prospect pool also gives teams looking to trade with them many great options. By the time all the Islanders defensive prospects are NHL ready, there will be enough blue liners to fill multiple hockey clubs, so some of these prospects will eventually be on the move. This is a great problem for the Islanders to have because defense men, and especially young ones have very high trade value. It would seem that pretty much any defense man not named Griffin Reinhart, Travis Hamonic or Calvin de Haan would be fair game here. Matt Donovan and Kevin Czuczman are two young defense men who I could see most likely being moved in a trade, but like I said, nearly anyone is fair game.
With the assets that Garth Snow has at his disposal, He would seem to be searching for a top 4 veteran blue liner to help close up an Islanders defense that was quite porous last season. The Islanders closed out the year third to last in goals against, just ahead of the lowly Panthers and Oilers. This problem must be corrected this upcoming season, but up to this point, Snow and company have not done much to fix up the defense and with no free agent defense men of this caliber left, they must explore the trade route.
In a recent interview with Newsday, Snow said: “It’s not easy to find a top four defenseman. Teams don’t really give those guys up. If there’s a way to improve our club, we’ll always work like hell to do it. Right now we have a lot of competition and players know how they have to perform or they won’t be in this lineup.”
As far as trade options for the Islanders, any team with cap problems heading into next season would seem to be a likely partner. This brings to mind teams such as the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins. Any team with cap trouble will likely be desperate to dump big salaries to clear up cap room, and this is where the Islanders should be able to strike gold. Both of the teams mentioned above have a few blue liners that I would take on my hockey club any day, so a prospective trade with either of these teams is very exciting.
Personally, I think that if the Isles are able to go out and acquire a steady top four defense man, the team will be primed for a return to the playoffs next season. With the goaltending problems from last season solved and the team being as strong as any at the center position in the Metropolitan Division, the team will be ready to give Islander fans a final season to remember at Nassau Coliseum. Like I have stated throughout this post, it is very reasonable to think that with the assets Garth Snow has at his disposal, he will be able to deal for a defense man. I can’t wait to see what Garth Snow can do in upcoming trade negotiations, especially from a rare position of power.
Thoughts on trade options for the New York Islanders? Feel free to comment below!