We are inching closer and closer to the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline as things are heating up, and the New York Islanders are still in a playoff spot.
On Saturday, the Predators sent former Islanders draft pick and player Nino Niederreiter to the Winnipeg Jets, as general manager David Poile seems to be selling with his team eight points out of a playoff spot.
On Sunday, Poile announced that he would be stepping down as general manager with former Islanders head coach Barry Trotz to take over on June 30.
At this time, it is unknown who the Islanders are interested in, but one shareable point is that the Predators are interested in the Islanders’ 22-year-old forward Oliver Wahlstrom.
One would think that he is someone the Predators want in return for one of their more prominent players.
In 35 games this season, 30 coming alongside Mathew Barzal, Wahlstrom has seven goals and nine assists. His defensive game in year four has been the most vital step Wahlstrom has taken, but his lack of offensive awareness and production keeps his ceiling a bit lower.
Wahlstrom fell victim to a lower-body injury on Dec. 27 against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
On Dec. 30, the organization announced that he is out indefinitely with a lower-body injury, with the presumed expectation that he would be out for the season.
A source has told NYI Hockey Now that the belief is Wahlstrom will be ready for training camp.
On Feb. 7, when the Islanders hosted and shut out the Seattle Kraken 4-0, Wahlstrom was seen wearing a brace on his left knee with crutches.
As for who Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello has an interest in, there could be a few possible names.
The Islanders are using Otto Koivula as the fourth-line center, with Casey Cizikas up on the third line.
Colton Sissons, a right-handed centerman, has three years left at $2.857 million per.
The 29-year-old has nine goals and 12 assists in 56 games.
I’d be curious to see if Lamoriello can trade Josh Bailey for Sissons straight up.
The New York Islanders’ defense has disappointed this season, no question about it. Offseason acquisition Alexander Romanov and prospect-turned-staple Noah Dobson are still developing; there’s no clear-cut no. six defensemen and Adam Pelech missed significant time, which didn’t help.
Could 32-year-old left-handed defenseman Mattias Ekholm be someone that Lamoriello is looking at?
In 56 games, the six-foot-four, 215-pound Ekholm has five goals and 13 assists while averaging 21:44 minutes of ice time.
He plays on Nashville’s second power-play unit and the second penalty-kill unit.
Ekholm has three years remaining at $6.25 million annually.
Per The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun, the asking price is two first-round picks, a hefty price.
Would Lamoriello be willing to part ways with Romanov and another pick to upgrade? Or maybe this is where Wahlstrom comes into play, although doubtful.
Or, the asking price doesn’t match the conversations.
It’s highly unlikely that Matt Duchene would end up a New York Islander, but hey, you never know. Duchene was something that Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello looked into back in 2019 when Duchene was a member of the Ottawa Senators.
The 32-year-old has 17 goals and 29 assists in 55 games, carrying an annual value of $8 million for the next three years.
If they want to rid themselves of his contract, they are not going to be able to ask for an obscene amount in return, but I don’t think we are at the point where he’d be a cap casualty like Brent Burns was this past summer.
Duchene plays center but also wing.