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New York Islanders Trade Deadline Strategy: Buy Don’t Rent

The New York Islanders approach to the 2019 NHL trade deadline should be as a  buyer, but not renters. It’s all about setting up the franchise for long-term success and not short-term gains.

The NHL trade freeze is over. Which means GMs like Lou Lamoriello for the New York Islanders will be working the phones hard leading up to February 25th. We’ve already seen teams start wheeling and dealing in quick succession since the NHL returned to action following the short break.

The Edmonton Oilers have already made two trades to hopefully return their team to the playoffs. Going so far as bringing in a player that captain Connor McDavid called classless just two seasons ago. Earlier today the Ottawa Senators and Vancouver Canucks swapped goalies and prospects.

With 46 points in 38 games and sitting just outside the last wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference, it’s clear that when the New York Islanders eventually get involved that they’ll be buying. They absolutely should buy at the trade deadline, but they should stay away from rental players.

Blockbuster is dead and so should NHL rentals

Rentals don’t make much sense in the NHL anymore. They rarely work for the team that acquires them. Just look at three big rentals acquired over the last few seasons: Rick Nash (Boston Bruins), Paul Stastny (Winnipeg Jets), and Martin Hanzal (Minnesota Wild).

All three were acquired for a first-round pick or more. In exchange for Martin Hanzal and Ryan White, the Wild sent the Arizona Coyotes a first-round pick, a second-round pick, a conditional fourth and prospect Grayson Downing. A trade that Wild Owner Craig Leipold regrets his team making.

Minnesota and Boston were both bounced in the first-round while Winnipeg was bounced in the second round of the playoffs. Neither of the teams acquiring them was successful in their quest for the Stanley Cup.

The Islanders need to add talent to their roster, but they can’t do so at the risk of losing a first-round pick and more for a player that won’t be there past July 1st. For the Islanders, they need to bring in players that will improve the club for longer than a few months.

For the New York Islanders, they’re already playing with house money. They shouldn’t be where they are currently with the team they have on paper. The vets they brought in are gelling and providing the impact Lou Lamoriello though they could, the goaltenders are giving the team a chance to win every night, and everyone is following Barry Trotz’s lead.

They’ve already exceeded expectations by being close to a playoff position half-way through the season. They’re well ahead of where they should be in the “process”, they can’t break that by bringing in a player who may be talented but will leave the team in a lurch just a few months later.

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It obviously easier said than done, every NHL team will be trying to get rid of expiring contracts at the deadline. But with the way we’ve seen these deals work out the team acquiring the expiring deal loses out.

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