It’s been a bumpy offseason for the New York Islanders and new general manager Lou Lamoriello. Of course, the team lost out on re-signing superstar captain John Tavares after he elected to sign with his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs. But they also added free agent forwards Valtteri Filppula, Leo Komarov, Jan Kovar and enforcer Matt Martin via trade. Lamoriello signed Robin Lehner as an option in goal and hired Stanley Cup champion head coach Barry Trotz, as well. All in all, it’s been an offseason of change for the Islanders franchise.
Now, according to a report from Andrew Gross of Newsday, the Islanders could be looking to flip 26 year old sniper Brock Nelson in exchange for some blue line help. Remember that the Islanders also lost Calvin de Haan to the free agent market, as well. So far, Lamoriello has yet to fill de Haan’s vacated spot on the Islanders blue line. Could Nelson be dangled on the trade market for some defensive help?
Still, the Islanders now have a glut of bottom-six forward candidates while Lamoriello was unable to offset Tavares’ loss or bolster his defense corps, only re-signing Thomas Hickey to a four-year, $10-million deal and Ryan Pulock to a two-year, $4-million deal.
Perhaps Lamoriello can use center Brock Nelson, who avoided arbitration by signing a one-year, $4.25-million deal, as trade bait to acquire a defenseman.
No doubt that several teams would be interested in Nelson if he were to be made available on the trade market. The 26 year old is a three time 20+ NHL goal scorer whose production took a dip last season with just 19 goals and 35 points in 82 games. He’s a durable forward with a heavy shot and the ability to put up points on the power play. Again, surely several teams would be interested in acquiring him should he become available.
The question is, what’s the return? Nelson isn’t likely to bring in a big fish like Erik Karlsson, but the secondary trade market features names like Justin Faulk, Jacob Trouba and Chris Tanev. Could a team like the Carolina Hurricanes, Winnipeg Jets or Vancouver Canucks get in on Nelson trade talks?
One thing is clear, Lamoriello is not afraid to make big, bold moves this offseason. We also know that the veteran GM runs a tight ship and that news of a potential deal won’t leak out until it’s already in progress. In other words, stay tuned.