As I have said on Twitter, it seems far more likely in my opinion that the NY Islanders prefer a defenseman in their moving of Travis Hamonic. They are in a win-now, get to the next level mode. This means they do not want a gap defensively. Their next class of defensemen are still developing over in Bridgeport and are not considered ready for primetime.
They also want someone who is not a pending UFA.
Jacob Trouba is an aggressive and physical defenseman who can also move the puck for the Winnipeg Jets. Considered a good skater and solid shot. Only 21 years old! Tons of potential. A surefire top 4 defenseman. Could be a top shutdown defenseman. Offensively needs to get better, especially in reading plays and making good decisions. Having an off year thus far. However has 29 points in his first year. 22 points in what was considered a sophomore slump. The bigger question is what the Isles think of him. Hamonic lives just outside Winnipeg, but unless the Jets are willing to give up Trouba, I’m not sure they can be a player for Hamonic’s services. If he can be gotten… the Isles might have gotten the most coveted young prospect who is already ready for top 4 use. In asking most fans who would make them happy coming in return: Trouba’s name came up most often.
Darnell Nurse is a big bruiser who an excellent defensive defender on Edmonton. A shutdown dman who is an excellent skater and can fight/protect his mates. Not a great puck mover or offensive skills guy, though. Then again, does have 5 points in 10 games this season. I think, personally, Hamonic would cost the Oilers a bit more than just Nurse straight up.
Since we are talking about Edmonton, I would be remiss to not mention Oscar Klefbom. He is a big, phsyical and mobile shutdown defenseman. He is also a bit of a wild one out there. He also seems to be missing the offensive part that the Islanders seem to covet. However, still a solid guy and a 20-25 point player who is more defensively focused.
Chris Tanev over at Vancouver is a mobile and offensively geared defenseman. He is a smart player who can move the puck. Though to be honest, the fact that as of yesterday that the Islanders had not been in touch with the Canucks might portend that they are looking elsewhere via trade partners.
Dougie Hamilton is a big man at 6″6′, a good shooter, and all-around defenseman. Someone who is capable of QB’ing the powerplay and getting some points. Costs a bit more, but still… a solid guy who scored 42 points last season and is only 22 years old. Think about that for a while. His cap hit is $5.75 million for the next 6 years. Of course, this brings up the question… since the Calgary Flames just got him from the Bruins last draft, why would they trade him? Moreover: do the Isles want to tie up $5.75 in a dman for the next 6 years? Leddy already gets $5.5. Boychuk gets $6 million per year. This all said, Calgary is not doing well and just might covet someone with the defensive skill like a Hamonic… who also is easy on their cap. Hamilton for the Islanders would be an upgrade to the position and make their top 3 pretty amazing… and sealed up for the long haul.
Tyson Barrie is my thought on being a good potential Isles target. His style is completely unlike Travis Hamonic, but he would be best player at his position. Mobile, sharp mind, excellent offensively geared defenseman who is an excellent powerplay QB. I think talent and skill here are hard to deny… and those are the items the Isles seem to covet most. He had 53 points last season and 38 the season before that. Plus, he is ONLY 24 years old. He is a pending RFA, making 2.6 million this year. As the Colorado Avalanche languish this season, the whispers of his availability have grown. However, is Colorado really ready to let go of a key defenseman? Moreover, do they really covet Hamonic to stop their slide?
Kevin Shattenkirk is a master puck-mover and tremendous on the powerplay. He is a smart, fast, well-rounded defensemen at 26 years old and signed for the next 2 years at St. Louis. He is also a former New Yorker, having grown up over in Westchester. He is an all-star and a top level guy. In fact, last season he had 40 points in just 56 games last season before getting injured in a collision with Ovechkin. With his natural powerplay skills he is a prime fit for the Islanders. His inclusion would make the Islanders top 3 defensemen position one of the best in the league. He also might be the toughest to pry from a team. But St. Louis is hard against the cap, and the Isles do have a slight bit of room.
Forwards: I happen to think defensemen are more the main target here but if a trade was to expand to also include a forward, I’d see these fellows are potential targets…
Jordan Eberle of the Edmonton Oilers is 25 years old and already a 60+ point player. One year he had 34 goals and 76 points. He has a high hockey IQ, a good goal scorer, accurate shot and a hard worker. Capable of scoring over 25 goals and on an offensive team like the Isles, capable of getting over 70 points. Only rub is he isn’t exactly a big player at just under 6 feet and 185lbs. But can you imagine a trade that gets you Eberle and Trouba? Sure it would cost much more than just Hamonic… but what a trade that would be.
Matt Duchene would finally make the Newsday draft call of 2009 accurate. He is a fast skater, two-way player, who can play wing or center, as needed. Capable of 70 points, and at least 20 goals. Just under 6 feet and about 200lbs or so. The biggest question is are the Colorado Avalanche willing to trade him?
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