Islanders mailbag: NHL trade deadline edition
Islanders beat reporter Arthur Staple took questions from Twitter followers this week with the NHL trade deadline cless than a week away.
Here are 10 answers for this week:
@knightvine: how do you think zeekers injury affects the #isles td plans?
Casey Cizikas is out a month (give or take a few days) with what appears to be a broken hand. I doubt this injury, hurtful though it is to the Isles, changes Garth Snow’s trade deadline approach.
Just for the record, the deadline is Wednesday at 3 p.m. Eastern time.
Snow was looking for a top-nine forward before Cizikas’ injury and while Cal Clutterbuck, another lineup mainstay, was in and out of the lineup (currently out). The Isles’ preferred style is to roll four lines fairly evenly at even strength and Cizikas and Clutterbuck do a lot of penalty-kill work, though the addition of John Tavares there and Andrew Ladd and Jason Chimera of late on the PK softens the blow.
So I think Snow still is looking to add higher up the lineup food chain, which would perhaps put someone like Alan Quine in Cizikas’ spot should Snow strike a deal before Wednesday.
@anthony_c1: Will the #Isles make a splash for a Vanek, Eberle or Duchene type, something minor or nothing at all?
No on Thomas Vanek — as good as he’s been this year, the whole “I turned down $50 million and I hate Brooklyn” thing still is on some minds.
Matt Duchene and Jordan Eberle certainly are in the conversation, but Duchene will cost quite a bit in a trade and Eberle is still owed $6 million for each of the next two seasons — ame cap hit as Duchene, but Eberle is not as versatile.
Both of those moves fit what Snow usually is looking for this time of year: A player who isn’t a rental and can fill a need going forward. Duchene would give them a No. 2 center and power play help, and Eberle might be a good fit with his old friend Tavares and strengthen a very weak right side.
Those would be huge splashes, and Snow would have to think long about pulling the trigger if prospects and/or a first-round pick are involved. Seeing Ron Hainsey go for a second-rounder to the Penguins today seems to make it a sellers’ market, which would make many GMs hesitant.
@Rant_or_Reason: Duchene is in the headlines, so few teams out of the hunt. What about revisiting Jeff Skinner, Tyler Johnson?
Carolina did move Hainsey today, as mentioned, but Skinner is a different story. He’s still only 24 and, despite concussion concerns, is having a decent season. The Hurricanes have six picks in the first three rounds of the June draft and always seem to be on the cusp of turning the corner; you’d think they’d want Skinner to be a part of that.
I mused that an Isles scout in Tampa earlier this week was watching Johnson, who is a restricted free agent after the season on a Lightning team that always seems to be up against the salary cap. Tampa’s still in the playoff race, however, so outside of a couple of their pending UFAs, they may not want to break it all apart in the next few days.
@tdsportsfan_97: Is anybody like Barzal or Dal Colle considered “off limits” when discussing trades for duchene, eberle or RNH?
My feeling is Snow would not trade Barzal — he’ll almost certainly make the team next season, and he could end up being the No. 2 center the Isles are looking for. Even if they acquire one, Barzal could fit almost anywhere in the lineup as long as he’s getting power play time.
Dal Colle and Josh Ho-Sang might be trade chips, but I don’t see where adding one of them makes or breaks a big deal. Defense is what everyone wants, so I think Ryan Pulock is more the big trade-chip prospect than either of those two.
@RTaub_: who is more likely to be in a trade? Strome or Nelson? Why? Who right now has more value, Soderstrom or Sorokin?
It was certainly Ryan Strome for a while, but perhaps Doug Weight’s role as interim head coach has changed things. Brock Nelson has a lot of appeal, and if the Islanders don’t think he can be a consistent No. 2 center — he’s now on the wing, with Anthony Beauvillier in the middle — after three-plus seasons, then he certainly could be in a deal for a bigger name coming back.
There’s definitely some frustration with Nelson’s inconsistency. In his career, he’s scored 54 goals in 191 games from October-January. From February-April, it’s 19 goals in 103 games, plus just three goals in 18 career playoff games. If he doesn’t get moved, this will be an interesting summer for Nelson.
Sorokin has all the value because he’s succeeding at one of the highest levels of play outside the NHL. Soderstrom is growing at a normal (read: slow) pace for a goaltender and we’ll see what the Isles’ plans are for him. For Sorokin, it’s to get him in an Islander uniform as soon as possible.
@realCKMeng: Do you expect to see Halak in the NHL again this season (NYI or otherwise)?
I don’t, barring an injury to one of the Isles goaltenders. If he somehow gets dealt, he’ll obviously make it back because whatever team that would acquire him would be desperate as heck — not because of anything to do with Halak’s play and all to do with the $4.5 million cap hit next season, even if the Isles eat half of it in a trade.
Halak has been lights out in the AHL. As one former coach told me recently: “NHL goaltending at that level makes a huge difference.” So it’s hard to know what Halak would do if he came back up. But anything’s possible, even if not very probable.
@yonahwolf: Under what conditions do we see Ho-Sang/Dal-Colle this year? Any chance for Barzal when WHL Season Ends?
The Islanders would have to be completely out of the race or the Sound Tigers would have to finish their season before the Isles do. I don’t think there’s any rush to bring either guy up — they’re playing well and so are the Islanders, so why mess with good, slow development?
Barzal definitely will come in when his season is done. His Seattle team is having a pretty solid season, so it may not be anytime soon, but if the Isles or Bridgeport are still going, he’ll be here.
@adcohn1110: What do the isles think off/plan for Toews and also Wotherspoon, and does that impact any plans with the current D
Always nice to have more defense prospects down the line. Just look around at all the teams searching for defensemen, either in trades or free agency, and you’ll know that having five potential NHL defensemen in the pipeline is a real benefit.
I don’t think it changes anything right away. Toews obviously is closer to becoming an NHL player than Wotherspoon, but the Isles love Wotherspoon — he’ll be in Bridgeport next season for sure, and most of the development folks feel he’s not far away from being an NHLer.
@MikeySeidz: Anything new on the arena situation?
Hey, a non-trade deadline question! Nothing new, really. The Islanders’ owners continue to scoff at Nassau County’s public pleas for the team to return, and talks with Barclays Center on opening the deal can begin in July at the team’s behest or in January at the arena’s behest.
There doesn’t seem to be anything on a new arena in the works, either. So the two sides will talk and perhaps make a different deal, but Brooklyn is where the Isles almost certainly will be next season and the season after that.