Trading From Strength

If you need to improve a position, why trade the only stability you have?

The New York Islanders enter the 2014-15 season with an untested defense. That is not strong enough of an understatement. Outside the one seasoned veteran and Current Future Star, the Islanders defense depth is still incubating. Which is actually a worse position than “good” or “bad” as there is no way to establish a current status.

The notion of “age is nothing but a number” is not usually relevant when discussing defensemen. An NHL defenseman is deemed ready 6-7 years into a career which is 24-25 years old. Before they’re Pronger or Visnovsky they’re Mathieu Biron. Sorry to the Biron family for that. Or they could be Andrew MacDonald. And…oy.

As it stands the current Islanders blueline corps lacks a True Veteran Number One Defenseman. “Veteran” to the Islanders is anyone older than the average age of 27.

Dan Boyle was supposed to fill the need for a veteran number one defenseman. The blessing in disguise with his departure is that he is another Lubomir Visnovsky. He’s 38 years old, with a recent history of head injury, and some glue on his skates. He would have been a number 4 at best.

PK Subban was unsigned and on the market for…no he wasn’t. As much as everyone (myself included) wanted a reunion with his bestest bud John Tavares, PKS was never going to leave Montreal.

Not trying to list every Number One defenseman the Islanders don’t have, but there’s one thing that’s been floating around.

Trading the Number “One” Veteran Defenseman for defensive help. That thought popped up recently and it’s a bit silly. Visnovsky is not going to net the return of a top-pairing defenseman. That’s not even a question.

The question should be who in the system should be traded for that needed help?

Pulock, Reinhardt, Pedan, and Pokka are generally viewed as untouchable. They project to be the future of the core. The skills they bring to the table reinforce that thinking.

Aaron Ness has fallen off most radars as he has quickly and sadly become the Chris Campoli of the new millennium. Not for lack of trying but he is a smallish puck-mover. Staring down at him (literally) are large puck-movers.

Matt Donovan and Calvin de Haan are showing signs of both life and regression, “tweeners” in the making in this current set up. De Haan, in my opinion, has more of chance of a regular NHL job.

How does that help Garth Snow make a trade? No team is not looking for a defenseman who can move the puck out of his own zone, start/add to the attack, and create scoring plays. Having younger, not yet prime players in surplus is a big asset after years of high and precise drafting.

Trading away the aforementioned “spares” will not hurt team depth and development. It will give players new life on new teams, clear out those spares to readdress organizational needs at defense, and quite possibly be part of a package for that Needed Veteran Defenseman.

Just don’t trade Lubomir Visnovsky, really the only vet they have.

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