The New York Islanders’ playoff ambitions continue to dwindle as they have won just twice throughout their last ten games. The 2-5-3 stretch has the club searching for answers as their lack of offensive support for their Vezina Trophy calibre goaltender, Ilya Sorokin, continues to be problematic. The poor stretch has the team on the cusp of missing the playoffs for the second consecutive season.
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Islanders’ general manager Lou Lamoriello will undoubtedly take some course of action between now and the NHL Trade Deadline. His direction remains in question as the Islanders sit on the playoff bubble. There is a strong case for each scenario as they may be buyers or decide to look ahead and become sellers as this year’s deadline. Today we take a deeper dive into each scenario, looking at the potential moving pieces and their effect on the franchise.
Islanders’ Case To Be Buyers at Trade Deadline
While the Islanders have one of the top goaltending tandems in the league, they also boast strong defensive numbers. They allow an average of 2.72 goals per game, ranking eighth among all teams. Their penalty kill has also been a strong point this season, as they rank fifth, successfully killing 82.7% of opposition power plays. The strong defence will also receive a massive boost as their top defenceman Adam Pelech draws closer to returning to the lineup. Lamoriello’s New Jersey Devils’ won championships based on their strong defensive play and elite goaltending.
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The most glaring weakness this club has endured throughout the season is a lack of scoring. Recent All-Star selection, Brock Nelson, led the Islanders with 37 goals last season. However, he has shown some regression this season as he is on pace to score only 28 goals. Key injuries to forwards Oliver Wahlstrom and Kyle Palmieri certainly haven’t helped; however, neither were having stellar campaigns by any means. The Islanders’ third line of Zach Parise, J.G Pageau and Hudson Fasching has arguably been the team’s best line recently. Should Lamoriello decide to push for the playoffs this season, he will need to add to the top-six group, and fortunately, plenty of players on the trade market will fit the bill.
Lamoreillo has been previously linked to other big-name players while trying to improve the Islanders’ top-six forward group. A potential trade for Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller reportedly fell through at…