Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter
Last week, we began a four-part series taking a look at players that general manager Garth Snow might take a look at this offseason in the hopes of reshaping his roster ahead of the 2017-18 season. Today, we move on to part two.
With the free agent market looking sub-par, trades might be the only option for Snow to try and get the right pieces that will lead the Islanders back to the playoffs, after missing the postseason this previous season by one point. While players get their injuries treated, some even surgically, general managers focus on the upcoming expansion draft and there should be no shortage of action leading up to this year's entry draft in Chicago on Friday, June 23.
To reiterate, this is all purely speculative and just my opinion on some players who, I believe, could help the Islanders get to the next level. The trade market is extremely fluid and almost impossible to predict until any deal actually is completed and submitted to the league office. Still, it's always fun to discuss.
164 GP, 29-66-95
Drouin's name has been in and out of the rumor mill for some time now. Over the course of the last couple of weeks, it has become more prominent. This is due to general manager Steve Yzerman's extremely difficult task of managing the Lightning salary cap, something he has proven adept at in the past but now faces a more difficult challenge with several key offensive and defensive players eligible for new deals and not much space to work with -- Drouin being one (restricted status).
Last season was a coming out party for the 22-year-old as after scoring eight goals in 91 games and being demoted to the AHL for a short stretch, Drouin collected 21 goals and 53 points in 73 games, using his outstanding agility and nifty stick skills to open up space for himself and linemates. He has had excellent possession statistics in his brief career, posting 5v5 corsi rates of 53.8, 50.7 and 52.7.
After all the drama between Drouin and the Lightning, his performance shows incredible maturity and renewed commitment. One would think Yzerman does not want to trade the dynamic forward, who once had 108 points in 46 games as a 19-year old with Halifax of the QMJHL, but he could be forced to depending on how negotiations go with Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat, Andrej Sustr and potentially Luke Witkowski, in addition to needing a backup goaltender and of course, getting Steven Stamkos back off LTIR.
Islanders fans might best remember Drouin from last season's playoffs when in the second round, he got steamrolled at center ice by Thomas Hickey. But if Snow has him on the radar and can make something work, they could remember him for much more.
507 GP, 165-217-382
For a second straight season, Jordan Eberle was on general manager Garth Snow's radar. It's unknown just how serious talks have gotten, or if they even got off the ground for that matter, but he's been a player New York has inquired about previously, that much sources have confirmed. After seeing his performance, or lack thereof, in this season's Oilers playoff run, talks about moving the shifty forward are heating up.
The 26-year-old has two more seasons remaining on a contract that carries a $6 million dollar cap hit, and he produced 20 goals and 51 points while playing all 82 games in 2016-17. He has scored 25+ goals three times in seven seasons, with a high of 34 coming in 2011-12 and finished above 52% 5v5 corsi for a second straight season. His first taste of playoff action did not go as well, however. Eberle notched just two assists in 13 playoff games as the Oilers drove the Anaheim Ducks to a seventh game in the second round.
More than the upfront statistics, he was accused of being 'soft' and lacking 'sand' and grit, not showing the drive and intensity needed for success when the brightest lights get turned on. Now, this was his first ever taste, so let's keep that in mind as it's difficult to predict if that turns out to be an aberration or the norm when it comes to future performances.
I believe Snow should move, aggressively, on Eberle. He has proven the ability to produce and I'm willing to bet on his playoffs being the aforementioned aberration. He would certainly be considered an offensive upgrade over Josh Bailey on a more consistent basis and with Anders Lee providing space with his power game, could really thrive playing with the captain in the middle. Plus, his price might never be lower than what it is right now.