Things are started to heat up in the last 20 days ahead to the trade deadline. Teams have to face the music and decide if they're pushing hard for a playoff berth, pursuing key pieces for a long run, or having a blowout sale to build a stronger future. The options are out there, they need to figure it out.
However, one team seems set to make major moves at the deadline, and according to NHL insider Darren Dreger, they are expected to be the most aggressive team on the market before Feb. 26.
Yes, the New York Islanders are ready for big moves. They remain in a Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference, for now, but are likely to go out of their way to prove to pending free agent captain John Tavares, who has yet to sign an extension, that they mean business!
"I keep looking at the New York Islanders and trying to figure out what’s happening there,” said Dreger on Leafs Lunch appearance on Toronto’s TSN 1050. “We’re fixated on whether or not John Tavares is going to extend with the Islanders, and if he isn’t it’s perhaps a much bigger story, truthfully. But there’s a lot of work that has to get done both on the ice and off the ice.
“I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t love their goaltending. Every time I’ve talked to Garth Snow, a former goaltender, about his goaltending in Greiss and Halak, I’m told that, ‘No, no, no. Our goaltending is fine.’ Yet that storyline doesn’t seem to want to go away.
“And he’s got some other unsettling contracts he’s going to have to deal with. Josh Bailey is right at the top of the list. And I wonder if that’s part of why Tavares is just in a wait and see mode still. There are many who believe that he’s already decided he’s going to wait. Why not now. You might as well have a look at what the market presents and your default option is to go back to the Islanders. But maybe he’s tired of watching good players go out. So he maybe wants to see if they can get Bailey signed, and Anders Lee isn’t that far behind. And if goaltending is in question, what’s Garth going to do there."
The Isles might be pressured to make important changes to prove to Tavares they are contenders, and it could start with acquiring a netminder. The Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings and Vancouver Canucks could be targeted by New York, who might become the most agressive club out there.
"The Islanders – and I say this because I like the work that Garth Snow does from time to time. He’s shown signs of a willingness to be very aggressive and I don’t doubt that he’ll try and be as aggressive as he can between now and the deadline."