With Lou Lamiorello keeping his dealings relatively tight lipped, this offseason has been a bit of a mystery for the Islanders. The only official move that they’ve made is a new eight-year, $5.75 million contract for defenseman Adam Pelech. According to NHL insiders, they also unofficially have deals in place with Kyle Palmieri, Casey Cizikas and Zach Parise. Assuming the rumored signings are true, there are still a number of moves the Islanders should consider making before the offseason ends.
Trading For Phil Kessel
It’s no secret at this point in time that the Islanders are trying to trade for Vladimir Tarasenko. But if the Islanders fail to acquire him, they still have a big need for veteran scoring depth. This is where they should consider trading for Arizona Coyotes winger Phil Kessel. Kessel has gone very under the radar this offseason with all the discussion surrounding Tarasenko and Jack Eichel. But the Coyotes have been cleaning house to acquire draft picks this offseason, which almost certainly means they’ll be getting rid of Kessel as well.
Kessel is four years older than Tarasenko, but is still a very valuable NHL player. He scored 20 goals in his age 33 season on a middling Coyotes team. His presence on the Islanders top six would still be a big upgrade in terms of goal scoring. He would also be less of a commitment in terms of salary cap and years on the team and doesn’t carry Tarasenko’s injury risk. And lastly there’s the value of Kessel’s vast playoff experience, which includes back to back championships with the Penguins in 2016 and 2017.
A Reunion With Zdeno Chara?
After trading away Nick Leddy for salary cap relief, the Islanders are in need of a left handed defenseman. The problem is, the options remaining in free agency are not very attractive. The best available one, should he decide to play another season, is former Islander Zdeno Chara. Although he certainly isn’t the same kind of player Nick Leddy is, there are some positives about bringing him in.
For starters, Chara’s style of play would blend perfectly with the Islanders style of hockey. He plays an excellent defense first style and has a knack for hitting, both of which are perfect for the team. He’s also extremely experienced in all aspects of the game and is a strong leader, as proven by his time as team captain with the Bruins. The risk is his age, which already has led to a slight decline to his game and more injuries. Another risk is the fact that he won’t replicate Leddy’s offensive game, as Leddy was routinely a leading scorer on the defensive side. But with the lack of quality options available at this position, this may be a risk the Islanders have to try and take.
Bringing Back Travis Zajac
Travis Zajac was a throw-in within the Kyle Palmieri trade deadline deal with the Devils. He wound up playing an important role with the team throughout the regular season and playoffs. He played a regular role on the third line wing after Oliver Wahlstrom suffered an injury in the first round. While he wasn’t the most impactful player in terms of point production, he did well in playing the Islanders way. The Islanders should be interested in bringing him back as added depth. They don’t have many quality center options in the system should any of the starting four get hurt. Zajac would provide an instant, quality veteran option to insert into the lineup to keep the team afloat in the event of injuries. He also boasts a routinely strong faceoff percentage, further showing his value as an asset to the team.
Featured image courtesy of NHL
Check out our NHL page for more updates!
‘From our Haus to yours’