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Friedman: Islanders ‘Poking Around’ at Chychrun, Scorer Should Be Priority



NHL Trade, New York Islanders
Arizona Coyotes' Jakob Chychrun plays during an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Offense is a significant issue for the New York Islanders in 2022-23, as they are just one of three Metropolitan teams averaging under three goals per game this season.

But, as we saw on Monday night in a 5-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs and what we have seen over the last year and a half is that the Islanders no longer have the shutdown defense that led to their recent postseason success.

Per Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, on Tuesday’s episode of “The Jeff Marek Show,” the Islanders are poking around at Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun, who they have checked up on before.

“Someone told me they heard that the Islanders were looking around at Chychrun,” Friedman said.

Chychrum is a player who not only would help defensively but is a player that helps the transition game as well–hence more offense.

In 31 games, Chychrun has five goals and 19 assists in 22:54 TOI. The 24-year-old is a plus-5 on a team that sits 29th in the NHL, allowing 3.57 goals per game.

Chychrun has two years left on his contract, with a $4.6 million annual value, including a modified no-movement clause comprising 10 teams.

He is a left-handed defenseman who can play both sides.

But Friedman doesn’t think it makes sense for the Islanders to give up what Arizona is looking for, given that the Islanders need a scorer, and all resources should go towards that.

The asking price for Chychrun, per Friedman on his “32 Thoughts” podcast, is two first-round picks plus a package, whether it is two first-round picks or the kind of prospect that basically equals a first-round pick.”

Friedman elaborated:

“If you’re worried you’re going to miss the playoffs, you need to add young talent. Like I don’t know if that [move] makes sense for me,” Friedman said. “So I think the question is going to become, okay, you had a great run with this group. It’s probably at the end. So where do you adjust to now?”

“And I think all of their resources should be poured into finding a scorer.”

Friedman and Marek threw out Columbus Blue Jackets forward Patrik Laine, as a potential fit, but haven’t heard anything linking the two sides.  

Jeff Marek said that the Islanders have reached out to the St. Louis Blues regarding Vladimir Tarasenko, as he could be an option.

The two also made a good point, using Monday night’s contest as an example. Because of the lack of finishers, the Islanders have to work so much harder, hence why playing a “full 60” has been such a struggle.

“It takes so much energy for the Islanders to score a goal,” Marek said. “By the time they score, they look exhausted. Then if a team scores right away, after that, they just look defeated. Like when you have to grind for every single goal, the games are hard, man.”

“You need somebody down the wing to snap a couple in.”

Marek ended the Islanders segment with the following about NHL scorers:

“That generally is draft and develop, and teams hang on to those players as precious[…] I think that needs to be job number one.”

The NHL Trade Deadline is on March 3, and the Islanders are two points out of the second wild card spot in the East. They have averaged just two goals per game since Jan. 1 and have gone 2-7-3 since then.

Based on Friedman and Marek, along with what we have seen from the Islanders this season, it’s evident that there is certainly more than one area that needs improvement if they are going to compete, but in an offensive-based league with Iyla Sorokin as your netminder, the priority has to be on a scorer.

The question becomes does New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello have the pieces or the persuasion to strip one from another team?

Islanders Continue to Prove They Lack Enough Finishers to Compete


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