Every year there is a lot of hype around the trade deadline as it is the final chance for teams to solidify their rosters before the stretch drive to the postseason. Unfortunately, most years the deadline fails to live up to fans’ expectations as parity in the NHL makes it difficult for most teams to go all-in as buyers or seller. Furthermore, there are countless examples of teams in the past making a splash only for their efforts to ultimately fall short when it matters most. All said, the deadline is a good reminder that all trades are in essence teams gambling on what will happen in the future.
On the other hand, in many trades there are considerations far more interesting than the involved players themselves. For example, a buying team acquiring a player essentially hurts the available ice time and opportunity of at least one other player. And on the seller’s side whenever a player is sent packing there is now a void in the lineup that has to be filled by others in the organization which creates new opportunities. The fallout from these trades will have a great impact on the production of many players down the stretch and in head-to-head playoff rounds.
After covering half the teams in the East last week, this time we will analyze the situations of the remaining eight squads. Which is a buyer and which is a seller? What are the needs of the buying squads and who might suffer as a result of any acquisitions? Who are the sellers trying to unload and which players within the organization have a chance to benefit? As you will see, some teams will have a more interesting deadline day than others.
New York Islanders – BUYER
The Islanders are currently in the mix for the final wild card spot and may add to their roster at the deadline. While they will likely not make a major splash, they have needs on their roster that can be addressed via trade. The top line with Anders Lee and Josh Bailey flanking John Tavares has been excellent but beyond them there has been a major lack of consistent results. The team could use an upgrade in the top-six to play alongside Brock Nelson and Ryan Strome. Should this player not be a rental then his presence would get in the way of younger players like Anthony Beauvilier and Michael Dal Colle who will be trying to climb the depth chart in the years to come.
There is also a need in goal as Jean-Francois Berube has not posted good numbers leaving Thomas Greiss with a heavy workload. An upgrade here would not cost a lot judging by the recent Ben Bishop trade and would provide better outcomes whenever Greiss takes a night off. Alternatively, the team can always turn to Jaroslav Halak who has been outstanding since being demoted to the AHL.