The All-Star break is officially among us, therefore some players are off (those not attending the All-Star game festivities) but more importantly every NHL General Manager and owner has off from day to day operations but for some teams coaches, owners and general managers there is still some work to be done. Among those teams who’s front office will probably not get much time off during the All-Star break is the New York Islanders.
The Islanders have put themselves within the top-5 of the NHL, 1st in the Metropolitan division and 2nd in the Eastern Conference. The Islanders have made their case to be legitimate playoff team, they have depth, goal-scoring, goal tending and coaching. But right before the team went on break Lou Lamoriello said that he is looking to upgrade the team and is interested in adding a rental player. But who might be moved for that rental player? These are my five picks at who could be moved from the Islanders.
1. Michael Dal Colle: Depending on the value of the rental forward or defenseman you are recieving the Islanders real only top prospect right now that is avialable to play in the NHL for another team, has some NHL experience, value, and is a solid stock to invest in for any team is Del Colle. He’s played 17 NHL games but has more experience in the AHL with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Dal Colle has collected 166 AHL games with 93 points.
2. Sebastian Aho:The Islanders young defensive prospect does not look like he will crack the roster over the next two to three years with the solid play of Ryan Pulock, Scott Mayfield and Devon Toews, Aho is the odd-man out in this situation. Therefore why not get some return for the 5th round draft pick. Aho has played 76 AHL games collecting 55 AHL points, he is playing well above a 5th round draft pick right now. He also played 22 NHL games in 2017-18 collecting 4 points.
3. Adam Pelech: The Islanders fifth defensemen at the moment has not been all that bad nor all that great. Definitely not good enough to not at least throw his name in the hat of players to potentially shed. Pelech also comes with a small price tag of 1.6 million for another three years and has played already 176 NHL games at the age of 24. Pelech is still a young defensemen that has NHL experience that can be valuable to a team like the Flyers.
4. Lucas Sbisa:The Islanders definitely do not need this guy he has been in and out of the line up all year and it seems the Islanders are not too gung-ho on Sbisa. The return for Sbisa would not be too large they would need to throw in an early draft pick but he does provide a little value to some NHL rosters. He is still only 28-years-old with 504 NHL games played.
5. Josh Ho-Sang:The last player Islander fans want to see on this list probably and realistically he probably won’t be traded but I would not be surprised to see him moved. Ho-Sang had a lot of hype surrounding him before Matt Barzal came to town. Ho-Sang has been back and forth from the AHL to the NHL for almost three years now. It is almost sad to see his talent wasted but it is obvious that the Islanders have not taken a liking to the kid. Under three different coaches Ho-Sang has not been a regular in the line up. It may be better for him to get a new start somewhere else, the only issue is that Ho-Sang’s stock is a little low right now and the Islanders would probably lose the deal if they go out and get a rental for Ho-Sang but that is the gamble of trying to take that next step to be a legit playoff team and not a one and done.
In the other article Fantasy hockey forwards flying under the radar heading into the 2018-19 season: PART 1 we spoke about players flying under the radar, while this article has the same meaning, we will cover some forwards who may not fly under the radar as much but if found, could have a major upside. Think of these players as that one bet you throw in on a Friday night at 9:30 p.m. that you end up waking up the next morning just so happen to cash out big time. Small risk, high reward! We are all about the gamble here!
Josh Ho-Sang: Now, we all know Ho-Sang’s situation in New York has not been the best, a lot of that is due to Jack Capuano not really “agreeing” with the forwards style of play which led to Doug Weight not playing the shifty winger as much either. Luckily the Islanders have a new head coach and a smart one that is. One of the most winningest (that a word?) coaches in NHL history will surely enjoy Ho-Sang’s style of play. Ho-Sang is much like Andre Burakovsky and Jakub Vrana of the Capitals and those two seemed to excel under Trotz. Therefore with a clean slate Ho-Sang could potentially be a big buy for fantasy owners. Plus with a lot of attention on Matt Barzal, Josh Bailey, Anders Lee and Brock Nelson, Ho-Sang will fly under the radar on that third line to start. Being paired with a veteran in the middle and another young forward Anthony Beauviller who was successful last season could pay dividends into his game and overall confidence. Ho-Sang has played in a 21-22 games both years he was called up and down. In the 43 games he has played he has tallied 22 points, the young forward has shown the NHL ability to play consistently, it’s just a matter of if he stays consistent and Trotz likes him.
Jordan Weal: Similar to Ho-Sang in a sense, but not so much. Weal is going to be the third line center for Philadelphia, now if Nolan Patrick ends up getting injured Weal is an immediate fantasy asset and a top six forward, but for now a top nine forward potentially centering Wayne Simmonds and Oskar Lindblom. The Flyers now have three working lines and Weal thrown into this mix of fire power upfront can be huge for not only his confidence but his fantasy value. Weal last season played in 69 games recording 21 points, if all stays healthy with this Flyers line up and Weal remains the #3 center, it is fair to say we can expect Weal to record upwards of 30 points next season.
Joonas Donskoi:The Sharks have a solid situation going on right now as they have a lot of young talent ready to prove themselves and 3-4 solid, established forwards.
Donskoi falls under young forwards looking to prove himself. Last season Donskoi tallied 32 points, 14 goals in 66 games, he has been in the league 3 years now and took a major dip in points his second year(2016-17). The reason Donskoi has to prove himself still is because he has Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc right on his tail ready to take his spot. As of now Donskoi is paired with Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl, two very solid forwards. Being paired with a 30 goal scorer in Couture and an up and coming forward in Hertl, Donskoi has a lot of weapons around him to get the job done. Many may over look Donskoi due to the other names around him but he has potential for a 40 plus point season.
Zach Hyman: A player whose name we do not hear much in Toronto. With Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews and William Nylander there this young forward does not get the same attention as his counterparts. Well now with the addition of John Tavares, and the departure of some veteran forwards it has left a huge opportunity for Hyman to make some noise next year. As of now Hyman is slotted on the second line with Tavares and Marner. Tavares is an MVP caliber player, capable of 90 points and Marner is a great, shifty forward with potential for a 70 plus point season. Which, when you pair a player who can play the game well, do his job and cash in on the chances his line mates are giving him, Hyman is bound for his best year in Toronto. As we know two solid line mates usually leads to the third line mate stepping up and doing his job as well. Hyman recorded his best season in Toronto last year with 15 goals and 25 assists, pair him with Marner and Tavares we are looking at a potential 45 plus point year out of Hyman.
Sven Baertschi: Sure he may be on the Canucks and missed basically a chunk of time during the 2017-18 season but when Baertschi is healthy he is a solid fantasy asset. Last season when he did play he tallied 29 points in 53 games. For the sheer fact he will be playing alongside Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser should be enough of a reason to draft Baertschi, plus he will be seeing power play one minutes as well. For the amount of minutes he will be seeing and coming into the year healthy as well, he is a solid player who deserves a look come later in the draft. Baertschi best year came in 2016-17 when he tallied 35 points in 68 games. Say this guy can string together a full year alongside Horvat and Boeser he has potential to be a 45 plus point player. Injuries are definitely concerning for him, therefore have Jonathan Dahlen or Markus Granlund on the back burner.