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Islanders Mailbag: Trade Deadline Strategy; Time To Give Up on Engvall?



AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

As the New York Islanders rapidly approach the trade deadline, many are asking what moves team president and general manager Lou Lamoriello will make.

In this edition of the Islanders mailbag, I answer some of those questions, as well as some others surrounding the team presented by readers on X and Facebook.

Do we trade for another top-six forward or top-four defenseman and mortgage the future, or do we try to get healthy (specifically on defense) and keep our future assets?  – Tom Guccione

I still think it’s too early to determine what the Islanders trade deadline strategy should be.

With a month left to go, they could just as easily fall out of the race as they could climb back into it, so any and all options should still be on the table.

Check back in a few weeks, and I’ll give you a more concrete answer.

Best course of action at the deadline? Three Anaheim players make sense in my eyes (Vatrano, Zegras, Henrique) – @RyanJackNYY

If we’re talking deals with the Ducks, that would certainly mean the Islanders are buying. Anaheim will want to receive young, controllable assets in a trade. That likely means Simon Holmstrom, Oliver Wahlstrom, Samuel Bolduc or some players in Bridgeport would be heading out the door.

As for who the Islanders should target, Franke Vatrano makes sense for the Islanders, and Adam Henrique even more so. But I don’t see a fit for Trevor Zegras, not under new head coach Patrick Roy and especially not under Lou Lamoriello.

What’s our angle waiving Gauthier when it isn’t necessary? Or is it? – Julian Wright

There are two reasons why the Islanders chose to waive Gauthier.

First and foremost, it was due to salary cap constraints. When they activated Ryan Pulock off of long-term injured reserve, they needed to move some money around in order to be cap-compliant and have financial flexibility to make future moves.

However, the second reason is to give Oliver Wahlstrom a chance to play every night. For much of this year, Wahlstrom has received inconsistent playing time and has rarely made an impact when he does get into the lineup.

If Wahlstrom can find some traction in his game by playing every night, it only benefits the Islanders. At the very least, it would strengthen their depth scoring and, if they choose to go this route, make Wahlstrom that much more appealing in a potential trade.

Is the Engvall experiment finally over? It is clear he is not a top-six winger and does not belong on the second line or getting power play time. He is what he has been his entire career: a third/fourth liner. -Robert F. Alleva

While Pierre Engvall hasn’t lived up to the seven-year contract he signed as a free agent this past summer, it’s too early to give up on him.

The passive system the Islanders played in under former head coach Lane Lambert did not suit Engvall’s game at all.

He is an excellent skater and is most impactful when he can push the puck in transition through the neutral zone. In the new system that Patrick Roy is beginning to instill, Engvall may thrive. His game-winning goal on Monday night against the Maple Leafs is a good sign.

Rank the sweaters 1-4: 2014 Stadium Series, 2021 Reverse Retro, 2022 Reverse Retro, 2024 Stadium Series. -@Max_Sacco23

1)  2022 Reverse Retro
The dark navy was a great juxtaposition from the Islander’s usual home sweaters and gave the team a more intimidating feel whenever they wore them. Not to mention, the revival of the fisherman looked awesome, and the style of lettering that accompanied it was a nice touch, as it reminded me of fishhooks. Personally, I think these should be their third jerseys.

2) 2021 Reverse Retro
Again, I like the use of navy blue, but it was too similar to the Islanders’ regular sweaters. Didn’t bring a lot of creativity to the table.

3) 2014 Stadium Series
I get the futuristic aesthetic that these were going for, but I’ve always been a big proponent of uniforms being crisp, clean and simple. I never liked the white shoulders on an all-blue sweater. The Islanders have improved on these with their current third sweaters, but I still don’t particularly like them.

4) 2024 Stadium Series
It’s giving homemade child’s Halloween costume.