The NHL trade deadline is quickly approaching and New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello is trying to find someone to fill the gap left by Anders Lee’s season-ending injury.
The Islanders have been linked to trade deadline rumors involving Kyle Palmieri and Taylor Hall, but you can add another name to that list: Dustin Brown. Sportnet’s Elliotte Friedman indicated that Brown could be an under-the-radar target that Lamoriello goes after, and it would make sense why the Islanders would give the veteran forward a look.
With 14 goals in 29 games, Brown would immediately claim the mantle that Lee had been when it came to team goal scoring. and the Brown is a guy that goes to the front of the net just like Lee. Brown is also someone that can play power-play minutes for the Islanders as well in a meaningful way, with eight of his 14 goals coming on the man-advantage.
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Where Brown makes even more sense for New York is the fact that he has been a leader in the Los Angeles Kings dressing room and has won two Stanley Cups during his time in California.
Lamoriello has never hidden the fact that the type of player that the Islanders bring in has to fit the culture of the organization, so a two-time cup winner and locker room leader like Brown would certainly fit the bill. Last week, in fact, Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said he was looking to step up and fill the leadership void left by Lee.
Again, Brown would fit that bill.
Where the scenario gets hairy is the particulars it would take for Los Angeles to move Brown in any trade deadline deal and his age. Brown also carries a $5.875 million cap hit and has another year left on his current contract.
Any deal for Brown would likely require the Islanders to shed some more cap space to make sure their heads are above water for next season as well as this year. The Islanders have clearly been looking to move the likes of Leo Komarov or Thomas Hickey, and that becomes even more imperative with a trade like this.
The question then turns to would Brown be able to keep up his production next season for what it would cost New York to pick him up. At 36, he is having a strong season, but it’s hard to imagine the production will be the same next season when he turns 37 in November.
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Los Angeles is looking for a haul that would likely include draft picks and a young defenseman that can make an impact. Sebastian Aho would be one of the first players to come to mind that might be involved in a deal or prospect Parker Wotherspoon, who has spent the last three seasons in the AHL with Bridgeport.
The Islanders also have a pair of second-round picks they acquired from Colorado in the Devon Toews trade that would likely be a part of any deal for Brown as well.
Brown would be a fit for the Islanders without question, but pulling off the deal considering the cap implications and the extra year on his contract is where it becomes questionable. Lamoriello said the focus would be acquiring a player on an expiring contract, but it wasn’t the only thing that would be considered.