Barry Trotz predicted it will be difficult for Islanders president and general manager Lou Lamoriello — or any NHL GM, for that matter — to swing a trade before the April 12 deadline.
But the coach also knows his boss will go after "the right piece" if available.
"I think it’s going to be hard at the trade deadline," Trotz said after Friday’s practice at Northwell Health Ice Center in East Meadow. "There are so many teams that are over the [salary] cap. There’s so much that has to be done to fit the pieces. What I think is going to happen is there’s not going to be much movement and then there’s going to be a fire sale the last hour and a half."
The Islanders (23-10-4) face the fading Flyers on Saturday night at Nassau Coliseum after opening a six-game homestand on Thursday with an 8-4 win over the Capitals, setting a season high for goals.
It will be their 11th game since captain, top-line left wing and power-play net-front presence Anders Lee suffered a season-ending torn right anterior cruciate ligament. Lee was placed on long-term injured reserve, so Lamoriello can use his $7 million cap hit to spend above the $81.5 million cap ceiling.
Replacing everything Lee does for the Islanders is virtually impossible. Lamoriello has indicated he would look to add scoring help via a trade rental, an impending unrestricted free agent who would not have implications toward next season’s salary cap.
But Lamoriello has also emphasized the importance of team chemistry. The Islanders reached the Eastern Conference final last season with essentially this group and Lamoriello is not likely to trade away one of his regulars.
Lamoriello has also expressed a hesitancy in mortgaging too much of the future by dealing prospects or draft picks.
That would make it tough to swing a deal.
"I think everybody understands where we are," Trotz said. "If it’s not the right piece, we’re not going to do anything. If it’s the right piece, I’m sure we’re going to try like hell to do it."
Trotz has been using pesky Leo Komarov, usually a bottom-six forward, in Lee’s spot on Mathew Barzal’s line with Jordan Eberle the past six games. On the surface, it’s an odd mix since Komarov is not known for his offensive production.
But the trio was very productive against the Capitals, combining for nine points.
"I think the group is pretty good if we didn’t do anything," Trotz said. "It takes time for guys to fill in. Leo’s done a really good job.
"If we were totally healthy, we’d be pretty fine and we’d just be looking for maybe a depth piece or a type of player that maybe you don’t have a lot of."
Notes & quotes: Michael Dal Colle (lower body) skated on his own on Friday but will miss his fourth straight game…Goalie Cory Schneider started his second straight game for Bridgeport on his AHL conditioning stint, making 22 saves in Friday’s 5-2 loss to Hartford. . . . Radio play-by-play man Chris King missed Thursday night’s game because of COVID-19 protocols. The team’s web content manager, Cory Wright, filled in in the booth, while color man Greg Picker handled play-by-play. King likely will miss Saturday’s game also, but the Islanders said his status is undetermined..
With Neil Best