The New York Islanders have exceeded well above their expectations this season. They are currently first place in the Metropolitan division, 29-15-4, 62 points and fifth in the NHL as well. They are currently on a five-game winning streak, 8-2-0 in their last ten and 14-3-0 since December 15th, 2018. They have a slew of players chipping in from Cal Clutterbuck and Casey Cizkas to Michael Dal Colle to Jordan Eberle to Matt Barzal to every one in between, on the back end and a two-goalie tandem that is playing unbelievable. It has been an all-team effort for the Islanders, Barry Trotz has made this team a well oiled machine from line one to line four on the front end and a defense that is playing well above their expectations.
But still, the Islanders and Lou Lamoirello believe they can be better and they want to improve. Right now the Islanders have a pretty tough line up to crack with Barzal centering Josh Bailey and Anthony Beauvillier, Brock Nelson centering Lee and Eberle, Filppula centering Leo Komarov and Michael Del Colle and the fourth line that won’t be touched. Therefore where and who would the Islanders get to fill in on the front end? As far as the back end, Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk have been together for quite sometime now, Ryan Pulock and Adam Pelech then Scott Mayfield and Devon Toews as the third line. I can see a veteran defenseman sliding in for Pelech maybe, but right now Mayfield and Toews are playing too well to ruin their confidence and game with a veteran defenseman to help add some experience. It has to be a forward in my opinion but who? These five forwards are rentals I can see the Islanders going after.
1. Derick Brassard: He provides some center depth, can play either the bottom six or top six, does not cost a whole lot and the Penguins really are looking to get rid of him. My only concern is that he is a little cold right now and if the Islanders go out and get a cold forward to bring into this hot team it may not work out well. Like the Bruins and Nash last season.
2. Kevin Hayes: This may be the last thing to ever be done a Rangers-Islanders trade but Hayes would be a perfect fit for the Islanders can play the wing or center, is having an expectational year, almost plays like a Komarov just better and younger. Would be a good play-making winger to slide with Bailey and Barzal.
3. Gustav Nyquist: The Islanders could use a player of Nyquist’s caliber, experienced in the playoffs, can be a play-maker/goal scorer, can play the wing well and can really be slotted with any of these Islanders top three lines. Nyquist is used to playing with younger guys therefore a Nyquist-Barzal-Bailey does not sound all that bad.
4. Wayne Simmonds: The Islanders have one player like this a Cal Clutterbuck type of guy but Simmonds can play really well below the goal-line, plays a strong, physical game that the Islanders could use a little more of from their top two lines. Would fit well with Trotz’s system and is on the market.
5. Ryan Dzingel: The situation in Ottawa is pretty clear they have to sign Matt Duchene and Mark Stone if they do not sign both then it makes sense to keep Dzingel but if both sign there is no room for Dzingel on the cap. Therefore he becomes a trade piece. A player that is young, with a ton of potential who would benefit greatly from a good young team. This is a shot in the dark but my final option as to guys who would fall as rentals with some possibility to sign back after the year.