As mentioned earlier this week on NYI Hockey Now, if general manager Lou Lamoriello does not acquire another top-six forward, it’s difficult to say that the New York Islanders are going all in this season.
But with $11.381 million in projected deadline cap space even after trading for Bo Horvat per CapFriendly, there’s no question they can get a player of that caliber. It would just be about parting ways with more prospects and picks–as one must give up for such players.
If Lamoriello is serious, the Islanders need to acquire a player to play alongside Horvat and Mathew Barzal, and they should go all in on…a few names.
Let’s dive in.
Timo Meier Not Out of the Question
The 26-year-old pending restricted free agent has 28 goals and 20 assists in 51 games. He carries a cap hit of $6 million and needs a contract extension.
Because he is a pending RFA, extending him immediately is not necessary.
Meier is second in the NHL in shots on goal with 227 shots, 16 behind the league-leading David Pastrnak (243).
“What I’m hearing is a first-rounder — and one Grade-A or two Grade-B prospects, or one good prospect and a young, established NHL player,” a source from outside the San Jose Sharks organization told Sheng Peng of San Jose Hockey Now.
The Islanders just traded their 2023 first-round pick to the Vancouver Canucks, but it is lottery-protected, meaning the Islanders keep it if they get a pick 1-12.
The Canucks would then get the Islanders’ 2024 first-round pick.
But that won’t matter for the Sharks, as they are destined for a top pick in this draft anyway.
In theory, the Islanders would have called the Sharks before offering and trading for Horvat, as Meier made more sense given positional need. But as Lamoriello continues to show us, expect the unexpected.
All Aboard the Tarasenko Train
We are likely witnessing the last of Vladimir Tarasenko in a St. Louis Blues jersey.
The 31-year-old sniper is a pending UFA, and general manager Doug Armstrong is likely to pull the trigger with the St. Louis Blues quickly falling out of the playoff race–if Tarasenko allows him to.
Tarasenko has a no-trade clause but hasn’t officially rescinded his trade request from last season, and J.P. Rutherford shared that the Islanders were one of 10 teams on Tarasenko’s list as to where he would waive his rights to go to, as well as the New York Rangers.
After a 30-goal season in 2021-22, a year where Tarasenko proved his shoulder was completely healthy, Tarasenko has 10 goals and 19 assists in 38 games, as he’s missed 13 games due to a hand injury from a blocked shot.
Rutherford believed that a package containing a first-round or second-round pick could get the deal done.
Tarasenko carries a cap hit of $7.5 million, but it’s not out of the realm of possibilities for the Blues to retain.
Could this be Lamoriello’s chance at getting back at the Rangers for what transpired with Artemi Panarin in July of 2019?
Getting Terry With It
Anaheim Ducks forward Troy Terry is a player that no one is discussing.
The 25-year-old forward is not a sniper but a defensive forward with a scoring touch. He has 13 goals and 29 assists in 50 games and is a pending restricted free agent, like Meier.
He’s defensively savvy, leading the Ducks in five-on-five takeaways per 60 with 1.31, and hasn’t turned the puck over much with just 0.38 per game.
Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek is trying his best to out-tank the Chicago Blackhawks, and Terry would bring back a surplus of picks and prospects.
Now, it could cost the Islanders the likes of Samuel Bolduc, Ruslan Iskhakov, and a few picks, if not more.
As a young RFA, he would add that defensive style that becomes critical come playoff time and would be part of the future for years to come.
Terry carries a cap hit of $1.45 million.
Lookout For Laine
About a week ago, Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek threw out the name Patrik Laine as a player that would be a perfect fit for the Islanders. Laine is a pure goal scorer but has struggled with consistency and staying healthy over his first seven-year in the NHL.
In his third year with Columbus, a basement dweller, Laine has 14 goals and 16 assists in 35 games.
Laine, 24, just signed a four-year extension with the Columbus Blue Jackets this past offseason worth $8.7 million annually. General manager Jarmo Kekäläinen likely wants to see what next season brings, especially if they can land top pick Connor Bedard at the 2023 NHL Draft, to add to the talent that is Johnny Gaudreau.
The Blue Jackets have announced that Vladislav Gavrikov, a 27-year-old defenseman, is on the trade block.
A handful of scouts were on hand for their Tuesday night contest against the Washington Capitals, including the New York Islanders.
That doesn’t mean they were all there for Gavrikov.
Again, Laine is unlikely to leave Columbus, especially with his high cap hit, but he does fit the need.