Connect with us

New York Islanders

Rival Teams Could Affect Islanders At Trade Deadline; Penguins Out, Devils All-In



AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

As Adam Pelech’s wrist shot from the high slot hit the back of the net 57 seconds into overtime at PPG Paints Arena on Tuesday night, not only did he save the New York Islanders from another late-game collapse, but he may have also broken the backs of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

During a press conference on Wednesday morning, Penguins general manager Kyle Dubas laid out his plan for the team with the NHL trade deadline approaching. Unless the Penguins turn things around in their next handful of games, Dubas plans not to necessarily usher in a full rebuild in Pittsburgh but begin preparing for one.

From an Islanders standpoint, that’s wonderful news, as it’s potentially one less team they have to worry about in the wildcard race. However, there are still other teams in the mix, and the moves they make before the deadline could drastically affect the Islanders’ chances of making the playoffs.

Pittsburgh Penguins:

In his press conference, Dubas made two things abundantly clear. Firstly, he’s not trading away any member of the Penguins’ so-called core four in Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang or Erik Karlsson. Secondly, he wants to make the team younger.

To do that, Dubas is going to need to sell, and although he didn’t say it in such certain terms, it seems he’s prepared to do that by trading Jake Guentzel.

“We have to take stock of where we are at and be realistic about the fact that one of the issues we have is a need to get younger,” Dubas said. “We have a lot of guys in their 30s signed. Some of them are the best players in the history of the franchise.”

Guentzel has been out of action with an upper-body injury since Feb. 14 and isn’t expected to be back until after the deadline. Nevertheless, his name has been one of the hottest on the market.

If the Penguins ultimately decide to move Guentzel, it’s essentially the equivalent of them waiving the white flag for the season.

The Islanders are currently four points ahead of Pittsburgh, and having them drop out of the race would be a huge help to their playoff chances.

Washington Capitals:

While the Penguins are slightly leaning toward selling, it’s widely expected the Washington Capitals will be at this year’s deadline.

Washington surprised early this season by getting out to a stronger start than many anticipated and was even as high as second place in the Metropolitan Division around Thanksgiving. But since then, the aging Capitals have run out of steam and are now prepared to start stripping down.

Nic Dowd is believed to draw wide interest from clubs looking to add a bottom-six forward, and Anthony Mantha is a big body who teams covet in the playoffs. Meanwhile, Joel Edmundson can serve a contender as a depth defenseman with a Stanley Cup pedigree.

Washington is just two points back of the Islanders, but that gap should begin to widen after the deadline.

New Jersey Devils:

The New Jersey Devils are a sleeping giant.

It’s not a matter of will they add, but who will they add?

If  New Jersey doesn’t add goaltending help at the deadline then something has gone terribly wrong, as it’s been the area most to blame for their disappointing run thus far. In recent weeks, they’ve been heavily tied to Calgary Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom, and there’s also the potential of bringing in John Gibson from Anaheim.

In the crease is the one area where the Islanders are undoubtedly superior to the Devils, but that won’t be the case if either of those deals get made.

The two rivals are tied with 60 points, so the battle for a playoff spot will remain tight until the very end.

Detroit Red Wings:

Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman is as unpredictable as they come in regard to trades.

But given the fact that Detroit is in possession of a playoff spot, one would think Yzerman would like to add to his team. That may not be the case, though.

Recent reports state that Yzerman doesn’t want to risk ruining the chemistry within the Red Wings’ dressing room by making a trade. That could either bode well or be detrimental for the Islanders.

What would be worse is if Yzerman does ultimately decide to add because both the Red Wings and Islanders could use some scoring depth. The two teams are already in direct competition on the ice, and that would pit them against one another in the trade market as well.

Tampa Bay Lightning:

It’s hard to remember the last time the Tampa Bay Lightning were battling for a playoff spot rather than being clear favorites to win the Stanley Cup.

Nevertheless, the Bolts are in the thick of the race, currently occupying the first wildcard spot after battling injuries all season.

The most significant of which is the gruesome leg injury Mikhail Sergachev suffered a few weeks ago. Sergachev is expected to miss the remainder of the regular season and potentially the playoffs, leaving a gaping hole on the blue line for the Lighting that they’ll try to fill at the trade deadline.

The top defenders on the market both currently reside in Calgary, as it’s widely expected the Flames will move both Noah Hanifin and Chris Tanev.

The Islanders already trail the Lightning by five points in the standings, which will be even more difficult to overcome if Tampa brings in the reinforcements they need.




Enter your email address to get all of our articles delivered directly to your inbox.

NYI Team & Cap Info