New York Islanders Most Likely to Be Traded in 2014-15

Jameson Sempey@jsempeyCorrespondent IIIJanuary 4, 2015

New York Islanders Most Likely to Be Traded in 2014-15

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    Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

    The New York Islanders' ascent to the top has rejuvenated interest among fans across Long Island and in many cases has shocked the rest of the league, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't consider some moves to prepare for a Stanley Cup run in 2014-15.

    Their skill at the front of the lineup, depth and Jaroslav Halak's solid play in net has contributed to a balanced attack. What would happen if John Tavares or Brock Nelson was hurt, though? Could the Islanders afford to rely on Chad Johnson in net for a decent stretch? Can they upgrade down the middle without giving up too much?

    These are all questions general manager Garth Snow needs to consider. With that being said, who's the most likely to be dealt as a trade chip, should Snow seek to bolster his roster for the playoff push?

Defenseman Matt Donovan

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    Fred Beckham/Associated Press

    The best organizational strength the Islanders have is defensive depth. While it's difficult to get rid of any of the promising young players, it may finally be time for the Islanders to cash in on years of solid drafting in order to bring in some proven talent that will give them the best chance at a deep playoff run this year and perhaps next year as well.

    Calvin de Haan, Nick Leddy and Thomas Hickey are already staples in the lineup and 25 years old or younger. Matt Donovan and Griffin Reinhart have also seen their taste of action this year, and first-round pick Ryan Pulock will be another year closer to being NHL-ready at season's end.

    So that's why the team can afford to part with soon-to-be restricted free agent Donovan. The former fourth-round pick could yield a promising return. He tore up the competition in the AHL, and in limited NHL action he has displayed the same offensive prowess that impressed at other levels; he has 19 points in 60 games over the last two seasons.

Center/Winger Josh Bailey

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    Karl B DeBlaker/Associated Press

    Josh Bailey could be the centerpiece to a deal that brings in a solid veteran in return. 

    The problem with Bailey has always been consistency. He's still only 25 but has yet to show he's anything more than a 35-point player. 

    With the possibility he has yet to fully blossom, his standing as a forward who can serve in a third-line role and provide depth scoring could yield a decent return.

    The Islanders could look to land someone to help them in the faceoff department, such as Antoine Vermette of the Arizona Coyotes, or they could look to upgrade the depth on defense with a player like Jeff Petry of Edmonton or Andrej Sekera of Carolina.

    Should they look to keep Bailey, it wouldn't be a huge shock if Michael Grabner and Cal Clutterbuck are trade bait that the team dangles in hopes of shoring up other weaknesses. 

Defenseman Brian Strait

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    Mike Stobe/Getty Images

    Whether or not the Isles decide to part with one of their defensive prospects, Brian Strait could be on his way out to make room for an upgrade at the position. With players like Dustin Byfuglien, Andrej Sekera, Jordan Leopold and Jeff Petry on the market, and others like Griffin Reinhart and Ryan Pulock waiting in the wings, Strait is expendable.

    He has only appeared in 19 games this season, and has two assists and a minus-eight rating.

Other Trade Bait

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    Kathy Willens/Associated Press

    The Islanders have a lot of depth players who have not been a major part of their success this year; they are more or less dead weight. If the team can salvage any useful depth players or draft picks for any of these guys, it would be wise to do so.

    Eric Boulton, RW: Boulton has only played in four games this season, and while the demand for an enforcer is very low, maybe a team out of contention will take a flier on Boulton to protect its younger players. Perhaps a team lacking toughness will hope he can help with a playoff push in some small way.

    Cory Conacher, C: It feels like just yesterday that Conacher seemed like a diamond in the rough who would be a great depth forward for the Isles. He's cleared waivers after a disappointing stint with the Islanders and will be a restricted free agent at the end of the year.

    Matt Carkner, D: Carkner hasn't appeared in many games either, and he's on the wrong side of 30. He'll be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

    Chad Johnson, G: Johnson has failed to live up to expectations as a backup goaltender, and it won't be a shock if the Islanders look elsewhere to give Halak his days off. He's signed through 2015-16.

    Kevin Poulin, G: Poulin failed to do much to prevent the team from bringing in Johnson in the offseason, so the Islanders will probably be OK with letting him go, especially if they fail to find a home for Johnson. He's a restricted free agent after this season.


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