Happy Trade Deadline Day!
The last few seasons, the New York Islanders have been in a position to buy in an effort to bulk up for a long playoff run. But this season, the Islanders are sailing in different waters, as their playoff chances dwindle by the day.
But that does not mean there is a need to sell.
Here’s the latest information regarding a few of the New York Islanders as of Sunday night.
The information I hear and learn comes from a league source, not from the New York Islanders. That’s how it is as Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello runs the tightest ship in hockey:
Cal Clutterbuck: Pending UFA
New York Islanders forward Cal Clutterbuck has been a key piece to the identity of this franchise soon after his acquisition in 2013.
The 34-year old Clutterbuck has drawn interest from around the NHL, as he plays a physical brand of hockey and is the definition of a playoff player.
As reported by NYI Hockey Now on Feb. 21, Colorado Avalanche GM Joe Sakic was in the building for the New York Islanders 3-2 shootout victory over the Montreal Canadiens. Although Sakic may have had eyes on a select number of players on the rink that day, a league source said Sakic was eying Clutterbuck.
Clutterbuck was held out of the lineup for maintenance reasons on Sunday, but it was merely a coincidence, according to head coach Barry Trotz.
Take that for what it’s worth, but right when the press conference began following the 2-1 loss to the Flyers, Trotz knew how it looked and addressed it immediately.
“No, they’re not,” Trotz said regarding Clutterbuck and Andy Greene, who were both out of the lineup. For clarification, Trotz said, “They’re both on maintenance. We’ve played five games in seven nights. That’s all it is.”
After the game, linemate Casey Cizikas spoke on Cal Clutterbuck.
“He means a lot. He wears a letter for a reason. And you know, he’s a vocal guy, and guys listen when he speaks, Cizikas said. “He plays hard out there, he does the right things, and guys definitely follow that.”
If the Islanders were to trade Clutterbuck, his pending UFA status would allow them to bring him back in the offseason if they wanted to.
As of Sunday, the Colorado Avalanche were still interested in Clutterbuck.
Semyon Varlamov: 1-Year Remaining, $5 M, M-NTC
On Mar. 15, NYI Hockey Now received intel that the Toronto Maple Leafs had been interested in New York Islanders netminder Semyon Varlamov. Toronto starter Jake Campbell had gone down with injury and would miss a minimum of two weeks. Petr Mrazek had struggled mightily all season, and Toronto found themselves with a significant hole in goal, one Varlamov could fix.
I’ve heard that the asking price was at least a first-round pick, with Lamoriello having the power to dictate the market.
But with the way rookie netminder Erik Kallgren has played in his first three NHL starts, with a .933 SV%, a 2.38 GAA, and a shutout, the desperation level of Toronto GM Kyle Dubas has subsided. On Sunday, Petr Mrazek was placed on waivers by Toronto, who also signed netminder Harri Sateri, who won gold with Finland at the 2022 Beijing Olympics. He must clear waivers. But it seems they have their goaltending a bit more under control right now.
The Vegas Golden Knights emerged as a very interested party in Varlamov on Mar. 18. With starting netminder Robin Lehner out with an injury, potentially a season-ender, Vegas was in a tough spot. Their play as of late was a cause for concern as they inched closer to a non-playoff spot by the day. The goaltending duo of Laurent Brossiot and Logan Thompson was not getting the job done.
But Vegas has won their last two games, and Logan Thompson has stopped 71 of the last 75 shots he’s faced. It seems like GM Kelly Macrimmon’s concern has lessened as well.
Andy Greene & Zach Parise: UFA’s
We had spoken to Andy Greene, and Zach Parise leading up to the trade deadline, and both were asked,being older players on expiring contracts. As expected, both said they love playing here and have not paid too much attention to the potential of being moved.
Lamoriello is a loyal general manager, especially to players he has known for quite some time. When Andy Greene was signed as an undrafted free agent back in 2006, Lamoriello’s signature was on that contract. When Zach Parise was drafted 17th overall in 2003, Lamoriello was the one that picked his name.
As for where they end up, the expectation is that they both remain with the Islanders.
Although there is no information on Zach Parise regarding suitors, at least one team has shown an interest in Andy Greene. And that’s the New York Rangers.
The Rangers had been targeting Seattle Kraken’s Mark Giordano, but he is going to Toronto. They are in the market for a left-handed defenseman, but two things would have to happen for this trade to go down.
Lamoriello would need to be happy with the return to trade him to the rival Rangers. The other would be Andy Greene’s willingness to move. Not because he has a NTC, but because at 39-years old and the relationship with Lamoriello, there’s loyalty there. Now if an offer came in that would help the club, Lamoriello and Greene would have a conversation. But the Rangers offer would need to be worthwhile.
Zdeno Chara: UFA
In late February, NYI Hockey Now reported that the New York Islanders would be looking to move 44, now 45-year old defenseman Zdeno Chara to a Stanley Cup competitor.
Following the report, The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun shared that teams had reached out to the Islanders regarding his availability. There were rumors about a potential fit in Toronto, but again, the acquisition of Mark Giordano takes them out of the mix.
There was a potential for a reunion with the Boston Bruins, the team that Chara captained to a Stanley Cup in 2011, where he spent 14 seasons. But the Bruins acquired Hamphus Lindholm from the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday.
Per TSN reporter Chris Johnston, the Edmonton Oilers have asked about Chara’s availability. ESPN’s Kevin Weekes said that the Calgary Flames could be looking at Zdeno Chara to help their defensive depth. Chara played his junior hockey in the WHL.
If this is Chara’s last season in the NHL, which I have heard it is, how important is winning a second Stanley Cup to him? If it’s a priority, then expect him to be on the move.