Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter
"Nowhere Man," the iconic 1965 hit by the Beatles, can best summarize where the New York Islanders find themselves right now with 19 games remaining in the 2017-18 regular season and the trade deadline looming tomorrow at 3pm ET.
He's a real nowhere man
Sitting in his nowhere land
Making all his nowhere plans for nobody
Barely good enough to be a playoff contender, nowhere near being a Stanley Cup contender, yet not bad enough to pile up high draft selections for top-flight talent even in a deep draft, leaves the Islanders stuck. They are spinning their wheels in the Alabama mud with Joe Pesci at the wheel.
- After three straight losses, collecting only one of a possible six points, the Islanders are on the outside of the playoff race. They trail the Columbus Blue Jackets by two points, giving a game in hand; lead the Carolina Hurricanes by one, giving a game in hand; and let's not forget the Florida Panthers just yet, who trail the Islanders by three points with four, yes….four, games in hand.
- The problem is not the points, necessarily, or the games in hand. It's the fact that those teams are currently better constructed than New York, particularly on the defensive side of the puck. Is there much confidence, that even if the Islanders make the playoffs somehow, that their defense will miraculously become stout? Overnight?
- All the talk out of Edmonton is the Islanders got good value in 26-year old Brandon Davidson, acquired yesterday for a 2019 third-round pick. The 6'2, 215 pound lefty is a testicular cancer survivor, plays a steady stay-at-home style and blocks shots with good advanced metrics. Sounds like someone New York is likely to lose this summer as an unrestricted free agent, doesn't it?
- After going 2-2 over four games despite allowing over 40 shots each time, the Islanders, in losing their previous three, have not allowed more than 33 and have outshot their opponent each time. Sometimes, this game confuses and confounds. Just like the team you root for.
- There is nobody I talk to, NOBODY, including director of player safety George Parros last night, that believes Mathew Barzal doesn't have the Calder trophy as the NHL's top rookie, wrapped up. Incredibly, he leads the Islanders in scoring with 66 points in 63 games, and his line continues to be the best New York puts out on a consistent basis. This kid is going to be special to watch for Islanders fans for a long time.
- Captain John Tavares is having a rough go lately, with only two points in his previous seven games and only 14 shots. But, more than his offensive stats, is that his game has fallen like the comet in 'Deep Impact'. Lackasadical on defense, more than in the past, and a failure to win big faceoffs, is making everyone stand up and take notice. I don't believe he is hiding any type of injury, so it could be that the rock of free agency and the team's play is weighing him down more than he is letting on. Make no mistake, New York drives nowhere without their loyal, franchise star performing at this time of the year. They don't even get the car started.
- Keeping on the Tavares situation for a second, New York has let him have all the 'time he needs' with this free agency thing. It's a big mistake, in my opinion. If you're letting Tavares consider all his options, as he has earned every right to do, you as an organization owe it to your fanbase to do EXACTLY the same thing. With no commitment at this time and hardly any discussions between Claude Loiselle and Pat Brisson, you have to at least explore trade possibilities instead of just hanging up the phone when someone mentions his name. That's just irresponsible to me.
- Snow has called on Robin Lehner and Antti Raanta to explore options in goal, with Jaroslav Halak almost assuredly not returning, Thomas Greiss struggling, and a question mark regarding Linus Soderstrom. Greiss is the only starter (?) signed for next season.
- As I reviewed in my trade primer for SNY, the market for defenseman is weak. Sources told me that New York did 'inquire' on Jack Johnson, but that could have been just 'doing due diligence' or perhaps to start a three-team deal. It's almost impossible to see Columbus trading him, even though he clearly has expressed he wants out, to a wild-card rival.
- Okay. Okay. Erik Karlsson. Yes, the Islanders called. Yes, I was told they made an offer. What is not known is if the stud defenseman has the Islanders on his 10-team no trade list. And the cost I'm thinking is huge. If I'm Ottawa, it starts with an NHL-ready defenseman of age and term, a top prospect, and two first-rounders. And yes, Karlsson is that good. And worth every bit of that cost. He is a game-changing transformational player, just now getting back to 100% after a severed Achilles. I wouldn't count on it going any further, just keep walking, nothing to see here.