The New York Islanders are starting out a 9 game road trip tonight in Detroit, where they last played 18 days ago and lost 5-4 on a heartbreaking goal that deflected off 2 Islanders and in behind Thomas Greiss with 28 seconds left in the 3rd. This game kicks off a brutal 9 game stretch on the road, where the team is 7-13-4 this season. They follow up Detroit with games in Montreal, Columbus, Dallas, Chicago, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and finally St. Louis.
The team is currently in 4th in the Eastern Conference Wild Card race and 2 points behind the Boston Bruins for the second Wild Card spot with a game in hand. For the Islanders to stay in this Playoff race and have a legitimate chance at making the playoffs, they need to get at least 10 of a possible 18 points, every point over 10 they get, the better their chances become to make it.
After the road trip they will have 15 games remaining (7 home, 8 away), including huge matchups against the Bruins @Home, @Flyers, vs.Devils, @Sabres, @Devils and vs.Senators along with 3 games against the worst team in the East, the Hurricanes.
The Islanders are playing well under Doug Weight but this doesn’t mean they couldn’t use an upgrade on the roster. Matt Duchene is the player that I believe the Isles should target and I think most fans would agree with me. Although he’s having a down year (mostly because the Avalanche suck) and that Colorado’s asking price is reportedly ridiculously high, he is an elite offensive talent. Some fans may still want a winger for JT (understandably) but the first line of 27-91-12 has been on fire and looks to have some serious chemistry. The only problem this team seems to have no other elite talent offensively besides JT and acquiring Duchene would give the Isles a very good, and young, 1-2 punch down the middle. Now time to get to what i would offer the Avalanche for Duchene. I would send them an offer containing Brock Nelson, Travis Hamonic, and a First and see if they were to counter that offer. Brock i see as a trading chip here because he has been center a good amount this year and to make room for Duchene they would need to trade one of the current forwards, plus i think Brock is a bit overrated and with Ryan Strome looking like 50 point rookie Strome again i think he stays over Brock. The Avs are looking for young defencemen and this could honestly be either Hamonic or Ryan Pulock and since Pulock is younger and still on an entry level contract and won’t have to be protected in the expansion draft, the Avs could prefer him but I’m not sure the Isles are willing to trade him so Hamonic is who I’d send. Then finally I’d throw in a first round pick instead of a prospect here because this Draft is considered to be weak by Scouts and I’d like to see them hold onto Mathew Barzal (who I consider untouchable) and Michael Dal Colle although I could see the Isles throwing in Josh Ho-Sang to sweeten the deal and I think this is a possibility because of the issues he’s had with being late to things and before he was drafted the questions about his character and personality. So Matt Duchene for Brock Nelson, Travis Hamonic (Ryan Pulock), and a First Round Pick + Josh Ho-Sang*. Get it done Garth.