The New York Islanders have quietly played some pretty solid hockey this year. They may not be a playoff team, but there certainly is hope for the future on Long Island, even if it’s on the down low right now.
Many are hoping that the Isles will somehow manage to make a run and perhaps grab a low seed in the postseason in the Eastern Conference when the end of April rolls around. It’s a possibility, but probably unlikely at this point. In the event that the Islanders are unable to make a real run, they’ll probably look at unloading a couple of veterans.
Who could they look to deal? There are a few players that are easily identifiable as potential trade options. The first is Evgeni Nabokov. He’s a free agent at the end of the year and is obviously in the twilight of his career. He’s the type of guy that a contending team will probably take on as a backup after this season.
But when the Islanders are ready to contend, Nabokov won’t be around. He’s probably going to leave in free agency. The Isles will likely try to move him and get something of value for him before letting him walk this summer.
A pair of guys on the blue line are also sure bets to receive calls from other clubs looking to bolster their defensive units. Expect teams to call on Lubomir Visnovsky and especially on Mark Streit.
Both are free agents and either one or none of them will be back next year. Streit is the type of guy that many teams will covet. Getting Visnovsky to Long Island was quite a debacle, as he initially refused, but it shouldn’t affect his value too much. Teams will still have interest in each of the veteran defensemen.
There are others, of course, such as Brad Boyes, but the trio of Nabokov, Visnovsky, and Streit are among the most likely Islanders to be moved before the deadline this season. Trades will most likely take place if the Islanders fall out completely by then, as they’d like to grab some value before letting guys sign on as free agents elsewhere this summer and they get nothing of value in return.