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Fish Sticks; Who are the top trade targets for Islanders?

I wanted to wait until the first big piece fell to write this but with just five days to go until the NHL Trade Deadline, the New York Islanders have many decisions to make.

A lot of their decision making hinges on two things; One, do they feel that they have enough horses to compete for a Stanley Cup right now? Two, are they willing to mortgage the potential future/team chemistry for one of those major horses? All of this comes into play.

The Islanders are currently sitting first place in the Metro with 76 points. They’re eight points clear of the last playoff spot and barring a major collapse will be in the thick of the Stanley Cup race. Here are three potential, realistic trade targets and the complexities to all of them;

Artemi Panarin

The most obvious name that sticks out and a name that has been linked to the Islanders has been Artemi Panarin. He is a top 10 goal scorer in this league, plays competent defense, and is exactly the kind of player the Islanders need. The Islanders desperately need a sniper at wing and Panarin fills exactly that void.

There are two issues with this potential deal, really three if you’re looking beyond this season. What are the Islanders willing to give up for Panarin, would Columbus even make a deal with a rival they’re chasing in the standings, and would the Isles even make a deal with the uncertainty of Panarin’s future lingering?

To answer the first question, getting Panarin would require at least Jordan Eberle or Brock Nelson, a top flight prospect like Noah Dobson, and a first round pick. Eberle and Nelson are both UFAs but it’s a steep price to pay for what could be a rental.

The Jackets most likely won’t deal him to the Islanders because of this rivalry but will deal him. Even though they’re in the heat of a playoff race they can’t be caught with their pants down and let what happened to the Islanders last season happen to them X2 (Sergei Bobrovsky).

As for the Islanders point of view, Lou has made these kinds of moves before and isn’t afraid to pull the trigger, if the price is right. If he feels Nelson or Eberle or whoever are worth too much, the deal won’t get done. The deal always has to be right for Lou to play.

Matt Duchene

The second hottest name on the streets is one Matt Duchene. The Ottawa Senator has had a good season but an overall meh tenure with the young club. They’re really bad so you can’t really blame him, but his numbers could be better.

Anyway he would fetch a similar deal as Panarin but would probably be more prospect centric because the Sens are in a full blown rebuild and the Jackets would need NHL caliber players to fill the void.

Duchene could be an interesting piece for the Islanders and according to him he’s winning to sign an extension. However, depending on how much the Isles give up who would they rather have on their team? There is a more glaring need for a center but can Duchene keep up defensively?

Marcus Johansson

Probably the most realistic target for the Islanders is MoJo. The veteran forward has had a resurgence over the past few weeks and was honestly a stud in Washington.

MoJo has the blessing of Barry Trotz and plays a style similar to the Islanders do. He would be the best fit overall and cost by far the least. It would most likely be a second round pick that would do the trick.

However the risk with this pickup is that it just clutters an even more crowded forward group. Plus, does it really make them any more dynamic?

The Islanders are in a great position. It’s a good problem to have when you’re trying to choose between Artemi Panarin and Matt Duchene.

Even if the Isles don’t make a big splash they can improve in many ways with smaller moves. They’re still missing that dynamic piece but then again so was Vegas last season.

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