By B.D. Gallof
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Ok, so how are we going to keep this interesting? Because, to be quite blunt, the addition of Anders Lee to the NHL club from college is about as much action as Isles fans are going to get. Yes, as I indicated on Twitter — and saw on Tuesday night — he will be playing on the bottom six. Expect this for the rest of season.
Yes, Ryan Strome and Andrey Pedan are going to Bridgeport. By the way, you still won’t see Strome on the NHL club this year unless the playoff hunt is over or he just practices with the team. He is not in the playoff plans. At 19 years of age, they want to ease him in carefully.
So be patient, fellow Isles fans.
Scott Mayfield is deciding between another year at Denver or going pro, where he’d also be at Bridgeport. The decision is a big one, because in another year Islanders defensemen prospects will all be vying for roles.
Now you will get those fans who get angry that the Islanders won’t make many changes, if any at all. But the bottom line is tha you have all been warned for a while that this would not be a very active trade deadline for the Islanders. Even the Islanders’ beat writers came to this conclusion recently. Better late than never.
Mark Streit and the Islanders are still hashing out the details for an extension, though they seem far apart. And even though an extension might not happen in time for the trade deadline, it is doubtful that he will be dealt. Garth Snow would need to get an offer that pays to offset the playoff balance. The going rate of a second rounder and some low-end prospects will not cut it.
The real question is, “How much more or less likely are the playoffs with his presence/absence, and how do you balance that with trade options that might come up?” The fact is that unless someone makes an outstanding offer, no trade will occur — even if Streit and the Islanders part ways after the season.
What kind of offer can make the Isles pull the trigger, you ask?
Well lets say a team like Chicago offers a first-round pick and a B-level prospect. That might get it done. But again, as we have plainly seem from deals thus far and the market, this is not what the going costs are. So unless someone is hellbent on paying up, don’t hold your breath.
UPDATE (11:37 a.m.): I heard from a source that Streit and the Islanders are closer now on a contract extension. The source says that there is a 100 percent chance it gets done and he will not get traded at the deadline. Also, if Marty Reasoner is dealt, it will be to the Ducks.
Some fans will be stuck on what other teams are doing, albeit competitors like the Rangers, who dealt second and third-round picks for Ryan Clowe.
The Rangers need to make the playoffs to justify spending at the cap, and the window is closing on their “stars”. Add that owner James Dolan is impatient and that Glen Sather, quite frankly, is not worried about the future.
The future is now for them, since they are supposed to be Cup contenders.
Now Let Us Look At Our Islanders
They are trying to build consistency and future contenders. Yes, I get that we are not there yet. I’m like you. I’ve lived through all these years like you have. Yet, this is kind of the point here. The Islanders believe in seeing this through longer. They believe that this path will lead to a more competitive team down the line for the long haul, but the path is slower.
Impatience can create the overspending, underachievers trap. Look at the teams who avoided rebuilds and are still not even within reach of the playoffs. There are lots of examples, folks.
Thus, whether impatient fans like it or not, the Islanders believe that this trade deadline is NOT yet the time to trade picks and prospects. We have to hope that patience is rewarded and the Isles stay the course with the plan. Some fans may not like it, but mistakes and impatience at this juncture are easy ways to get stuck in mediocrity.
This is the true story, not the kneejerk complaining that Charles Wang doesn’t want to spend or that Snow doesn’t know how to buy. It’s the fact that they do not feel it is the right time to buy.
The current team is capable of rising and sealing up the eighth spot, just as they are capable of falling within their flaws and blowing out.
Let’s Take A Look At The Stats
As I have driven home all season, the big indicator of the Islanders’ fortunes is the 5-on-5 play. Though still not healthy, their 5-on-5 Goals For/Against ratio has risen to 25th to 0.84. It’s funny how that coincides with a few wins, don’t you think? This will be key to holding on and making the playoffs.
In talking to those around the team, the belief is that they will go as far as goaltending will take them.
Above all, they believe that the team is competing. They are right in the middle of the pack when and where it counts. So take heart, fellow fans. This gives them indications that the rebuild IS working. They are moving in the right direction. We are seeing glimmers of real things just over the horizon.
So here is what I expect to happen:
-As for Lee, I’d expect him to play every game.
-Reasoner will be shopped for a late draft pick, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on any takers.
-The Islanders will make no deals for goalies, nor give away key draft picks or prospects.
-Streit will only move if someone overpays – period.
What would you like to see the Isles do before the deadline? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below…