With the trade deadline a few days away, who should the Islanders trade, and who should they keep?
I would think no one is guaranteed to stay at this point, but I think some have a better chance at staying—Okposo and Bailey, etc.—than others.
Let’s work with three categories.
Bill Guerin—Although he has been a good captain, it is time for Grandpa Bill to move over and let the next captain of the Islanders—possibly Trent Hunter—emerge.
Dean McAmmond—recently acquired, but a player I am sure they told not to unpack his suitcase. He will be 36 in June, and has no contract for next season.
Richard Park—A great team guy who would have value in the playoffs. He will do whatever is asked of him, including drive the bus.
Brendan Witt—A workhorse defenseman who can log minutes for a team as a solid No. 4.
Radek Martinek—A great shut-down defenseman, and a solid No. 3. Can he stay healthy? That's the only issue.
Doug Weight—His sprained MCL keeps him from being almost assured a new zip code come March 5.
Andy Sutton—Another guy who can log some minutes, looks like a No. 6 defenseman, but the broken foot makes him tough to move.
Jon Sim—There doesn’t seem to be much trade value for Sim, but he could be a “throw in.”
Jeff Tambellini—Is it too soon to give up on him? He has shown he can score consistently in the AHL, but hasn’t been able to translate that in a regular spot for the Islanders.
Joey MacDonald, Yann Danis—There are teams who would like either of these guys as insurance policies. The only problem is there is no one else who can play. Both are free agents at the end of the season, so I would not be surprised to see one of them move on.
Mark Streit—Before I am flogged publicly, this one means a lot of sense. He commands good, if not great, return as a puck-moving defenseman and power-play quarterback. By the time the Islanders are in a position to really need this type of player for their own playoff run, he will be in the last year of his deal or already gone from the Island.
I think Garth Snow and the front office should seriously consider offers.
Blake Comeau—He has really shown he belongs in the NHL this year. Seems to play bigger than his 6’1”, and competes hard. The team would have to see a really good offer to let go now.
Trent Hunter—Potentially, he could be the captain of the blue and orange next season. A great character player, he goes up and down his wing and hits anything in his way. He can also put the puck in the net. Another player with value whom teams would love to have in the playoffs.
Jack Hillen, Kyle Okposo, and Josh Bailey—The future of the Islanders. These are the blocks to which the organization has committed to building around. It would take a pretty exceptional offer (lottery pick) to lure one of these three away from the Island, but it is possible. I think the management team has to have the mindset of listening to any deal.
I think the team has to look long and hard at the future of the organization, and decide what pieces fit into a five-year plan that started with this season. If a player does not fit that plan, and has trade value, then to borrow from Monte Hall, “Let’s make a deal!”