A lot has changed for the New York Islanders‘ possible trades by the deadline this year. In the past two seasons, they were buyers, chasing a playoff spot and looking to add people that could help. In 2020, they added Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Derick Brassard. They added Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac in 2021. Now, things are different for the Isles. They fell from being in the Conference Finals for two consecutive years to sixth place in the Metropolitan Division. All the signs point to a very quiet deadline on Long Island. What Lou Lamoriello will do next is unpredictable but that doesn’t mean one can’t try.
Three New York Islanders Trades to Happen Before the Deadline
Saying that the Islanders are for sure out of the playoffs is a little bit of an overreaction. However, it will take a ton of work – and probably a miracle – to make it happen. They’re currently fourth in the Wild Card run and 20 points behind the front-runner Boston Bruins. The difference from the Washington Capitals, sitting in the second Wild Card spot, is 19 points. And they’re only three games behind both the Bruins and the Capitals. Unless something really bad happens to either of those teams – and the Blue Jackets blow the rest of the season – the Isles have no chance. That’s why they’re probably going to be sellers in the upcoming March 21st.
Semyon Varlamov (G)
Possible value: first and second-round picks, a prospect
This is the part where everyone looks at the name and says “What?”. Yes, it’s a little odd to think they would trade Semyon Varlamov while not having another decent goaltender to help Ilya Sorokin out. But the thing is: Varlamov is getting a lot of interest from teams that need a goalie. And goaltenders are being needed more than ever this season – which highers their value by a lot.
The Vegas Golden Knights, for example, are in a really tough position with Robin Lehner being hurt. Of course, there’s more to that than only Lehner and Varlamov’s cap hit is a bit high for them. But they’re a contender that really needs a good goalie right now. And that’s only one of the teams that could use someone like Varlamov.
His record this season is really bad, having only four wins in 19 games played. But he has a 2.85 goals-against average and a .912 save percentage. He was not the problem in most of those 14 losses (two being in overtime). The Islanders struggled a lot to start the season and things are only now starting to get better.
The point is anyone who watched the Long Island team play knows that their record is mainly a bunch of goaltending steals. If they had a worse goalie duo things would be way worse. This means teams know how valuable Varlamov is – and they know Sorokin is off the table. If Lamoriello is to trade someone, Varlamov is (or should be) the main piece.
Zach Parise (LW)
Possible value: second or third-round pick
Zach Parise is an islander and that’s a fact. Since signing with the team right before the start of training camp, Parise fit right in with the team. The culture, the players, the coaches… Everyone loved him from the start. He expressed his thoughts on being on the island and he loves it there. “I really have enjoyed being with this team and these players,” he said in an interview. “It’s been a blast, really.” But what makes Parise a trade asset for the Islanders and why they should do it?
To begin with, he’s a veteran player who still has some gas in the tank and will play wherever coaches put him. Parise is 37 and is producing decently on the third line – even with rotating linemates. He has eight goals and 24 points in 58 games so far even after a tough start of the season. He could fit in the third or fourth line of a team like the Pittsburgh Penguins. Parise’s $750,000 cap hit also makes him a lot more attractive to teams that are in cap hell but need to add depth. The Islanders wouldn’t lose much and he already expressed he wants to go back after the season is over so it’d be a good idea to move him for a draft pick.
Cal Clutterbuck (RW)
Possible value: third-round pick
Cal Clutterbuck isn’t a goal scorer nor a playmaker but he’s still valuable to a lot of teams that need depth. He’s good defensively, good in the penalty kill and produces offence in a consistent way (also known as 20 points in a normal season). It’s not bad. He’s in the last year of his contract and his name is around the trade talk since last season. This means Lamoriello could finally break up their ‘identity line’ and move one from something that is not working anymore.
Clutterbuck adds physicality and is a shutdown fourth-line player that has no trouble playing against more skilled players. He could do well with the Los Angeles Kings, that are struggling with injuries, or the Nashville Predators, that could use the physicality. His $3,5M cap hit can make him a harder player to move, all things considered, but nothing that a little work from both teams can’t solve.
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