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Islanders Trade Proposals From Fans; Grading The Work



New York Islanders Tuukka Rask
BOSTON, MA - MAY 10: New York Islanders right wing Josh Bailey (12) tries to settle the puck in front of Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask (40) during a game between the Boston Bruins and the New York Islanders on May 10, 2021, at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire)

New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello made his second trade of the season, his third in the calendar year, on Tuesday, as he acquired forward Pierre Engvall from the Toronto Maple Leafs, as forward depth was needed.

The Islanders now have $5.274 million in projected deadline cap space, per CapFriendly.

While who knows where Lamoriello goes from here, with a few days before the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline on March 3 at 3 PM ET, let’s get to your trade proposals.

GM Stefen says: Per league sources, teams reached out to the New York Islanders a season ago for goaltender Semyon Varlamov with a few trades lined up. However, Varlamov has a modified no-trade clause (16 teams) and did not waive it with a year left on his contract. Although getting a first-round pick for a pending unrestricted free-agent backup netminder doesn’t happen often, Varlamov has shown that he is not your typical backup and could start for a handful of NHL teams right now.

On Tuesday night, the Kings traded Quick to the Columbus Blue Jackets in a package for Joonas Korpisalo and Viktor Gavrikov, filling their need for a goaltender. 

Martin Jones is a pending unrestricted free agent, and the Kraken need help in net. They would be foolish not to upgrade.

The Kings traded Quick to the Columbus Blue Jackets in a package for Joonas Korpisalo and Viktor Gavrikov, filling their need for a goaltender. 

Result: Both of these moves would benefit Islanders and allow them to reimburse themselves for the first-rounder given up in the Horvat trade. Obviously, with Quick off the table, that’s one less team that needs a goalie, but it also means the list of available netminders drops, making Varlamov more valuable. If anyone offered a first, I’d do it.

GM Stefen says: There’s no question, Josh, that Jakob Vrana is more of an offensive player than Josh Bailey, but given Vrana’s cap hit, this is a deal that likely would not happen. One could say that besides Vrana’s five-on-five production, he doesn’t do anything else, while Bailey, which people don’t like to understand, does kill penalties and is a playmaker despite his struggles.

Vrana carries a cap hit of $5.25 million and is on the books for next season. He’s a definite high-risk, high-reward player, and given the Islanders cap situation, it’s not a move that makes sense. If Vrana was a bit cheaper, it’s likely something Islanders would have considered. Also, if he were a bit cheaper, he would have been claimed by a team when he was placed on waivers after returning from the NHLPA’s Player Assistance Program on Jan. 3.

Result: Vrana isn’t worth the cap hit for next season, so I’ll pass.

GM Stefen says: Matt Duchene is an interesting name for the New York Islanders. He fits their veteran persona, the 32-year-old who has had a strong season with 18 goals and 31 assists. Again, is this a player that makes sense for the Islanders? He has four years left at $8 million annually (steep, risky), and although the Nashville Predators are cleaning the house, I don’t think they’re at the point yet where Duchene needs to become a cap casualty.

Josh Bailey is going back in that trade. The Predators are trying to shed cap and could retain salary instead. The Predators would want a prospect like Samuel Bolduc, having just lost veteran big-man Mattias Ekholm and likely another pick. An acquisition of Duchene would likely mean the subtraction of Pageau or Cizikas.

Bode Wilde holds no value. So essentially, it’s a second, a third, and Wahlstrom for Duchene. I don’t think that’s enough, and if I’m the New York Islanders, it’s too risky of a move with an already veteran team. I say no.


GM Stefen says: The New York Islanders had shown interest last season and again this season in Arizona Coyotes star defenseman Jakob Chychrun. However, the asking price was astronomical, and it sounds like the Los Angeles Kings remain the front-runner with the higher-ranked prospects.

However, Andre, I believe this is a fair deal for both sides. The Islanders are slim on the backend, with 22-year-old Samuel Bolduc (2nd round pick in 2019) their top defense prospect, but he showed well in his first six NHL games. As for Oliver Wahlstrom, he’s been injured since the end of December and is likely out for the remainder of the season. It’s a lot to give up, but Chychrun makes the Islanders’ backend much stronger now and in the future, depending on what happens with Scott Mayfield.

Bolduc has the potential to be a really strong NHLer, along with a first, and Wahlstrom, who still has the potential to be an elite scorer in this league, if he can figure some things out.

Result: If I’m the Coyotes, they are running out of time to get what they want as teams find other defensemen to fill their needs. This could be one of the better offers they get. But if I’m the Islanders, I think losing those two players and another two picks is too much, especially when the Islanders don’t desperately need another top-two pairing defenseman. A veteran LHD would be the area of need.

GM Stefen says: John, this is something that the Canucks would never consider, but I appreciate the effort. Boeser is still young at 26 and is on pace to score over 50 points in what has been a miserable season for Vancouver. His cap hit isn’t great, at $6.65 million, but he’s worth much more.

What could work would be Josh Bailey and Oliver Wahlstrom, a second-round pick with Vancouver retaining 25 percent. It also sounds like the Pittsburgh Penguins may be working on acquiring him right now.

Result: The Canucks would hang up the phone and block our number if we offered the initial offer. I don’t like ruining relationships, but I do believe Boeser needs a change of scenery and can still become more of a star in this league. He’s had a tough few years away from the rink.

GM Stefen says: Killing two birds with one stone. Ryan, I think these two players would be strong additions to this Islanders lineup. Nick Bjugstad is a six-foot-six center who plays on both special teams, which the Islanders and most NHL teams like. Shayne Gostisbehere is your speedy defenseman, who has an offensive touch with 10 goals. Both are unrestricted free agents on a rebuilding Arizona Coyotes team.

The one caveat here is that, let us believe that moving Josh Bailey’s $5.5 million contract this season and next costs a second-round pick, which means Robin Salo and a 2025/2026 second gets you both of those guys. We need to add something to this, like another pick–possibly a second.

Again, Lamoriello usually doesn’t go for rentals, and unless the Islanders are trading a center, Bjugstad remains a long shot. But Gostisbehere, the 29-year-old, could like get a three-year deal. I think the Islanders need a better defensive defenseman for Dobson, but this is a job well done.

Result:  I am a fan of Bjugstad. I don’t know if Gostisbehere is the kind of defenseman Dobson needs. But if the options are slim, I’d do this just knowing I’m giving up another second. Also, Gostisbehere would need to come with a contract extension.

GM Stefen says: Does Kevin Labanc make sense for this New York Islanders team? He is a similar player to Anthony Beauvillier, who the Islanders shift off in their package for Bo Horvat. He has 10 goals in 51 games, but there was the continued belief that he could find his way to consistency. He is from Staten Island and is a player that may need a change of scenery at this point after seven years with the Sharks.

As mentioned in the previous trade proposal, if Bailey is included, that second-round pick gets attached to him. Then it’s Robin Salo and a 2023 third (potentially a second) for the 27-year-old Lebanc and a 2023 fourth or fifth-round pick. I’m not sure the Sharks would agree to this. If you drop the Sharks’ pick, you are good. Robin Salo isn’t NHL-ready right now and is a bit of a question mark. The Sharks are “retooling” rather than rebuilding, so I could see it. The Islanders would have him under contract for another season, but $4.725 million might be a little steep.

Result: If they agreed to the changes and retained 50 percent of his salary, I’d do it, but that’s a long shot.

GM Stefen says: NyIes decided that the Mascot Protection Program wasn’t for him. He tried. He really did. Over 20 years with a fake name and a fresh start. I think he rather be retaliated against than head back. And he’s making young Islanders fans happy. I think Sparky is jealous, and I think you might be Sparky.

Result: Sources say Nyles is never going back.