The NHL trade deadline is on Mar. 5, and the New York Islanders will be fielding trade offers for most players on the team with the exception of John Tavares, Travis Hamonic and Kyle Okposo. The name Michael Grabner is not one that has come up too often, but if the Islanders could move him for a solid prospect or a high draft pick, I think they would consider it. Grabner was one of general manager Garth Snow’s waiver wire finds a couple of seasons ago, and he has been a solid forward for the Islanders since his arrival.
However, this season has been a bit of a struggle for Grabner, especially on the offensive side. Grabner only has nine goals this season so far and has been having great difficulty scoring on breakaways. Grabner is one of the fastest players in the NHL and has a knack for creating shorthanded opportunities on the penalty kill, but very rarely does he capitalize on them. The question is should Snow trade Grabner, and if so for what?
Many Islanders fans are in favor of moving Grabner, but I am not one of them. Grabner is a scrappy two-way forward that has all the intangibles you want in a third line forward. He has 20-goal potential when he is confident and is one of the better penalty killers the Islanders have. Grabner is capable of playing a physical game when he wants to and is good guy in the locker room as well.
The only way I would be in favor of moving Grabner would be in the case of throwing him in with Thomas Vanek or Andrew MacDonald to bring back a top goaltending prospect, such as John Gibson of the Anaheim Ducks. Trading Grabner by himself would probably only be worth a second-round draft pick or a mid-level prospect. I believe Grabner can easily come back next season for the Islanders and score over 20 goals for them. Unless a team offers a first-round pick or a very talented young prospect, the Islanders are better off keeping Grabner and seeing if he can bounce back next year.