New York Islanders: How the trade deadline dilemma will take care of itself

New York Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
New York Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The New York Islanders will enter life after the All-Star break in first place in the Division. Now, the thing that happens next is the February 25 trade deadline. Here is how that dilemma will take care of itself by then.

The New York Islanders are in odd territory for them at this point in the season by actually being in the playoff race. However, the only big date left until the playoffs is the February 25 NHL trade deadline.

Of course, only Lou Lamoriello knows what Lou Lamoriello will do by that time. On the surface, it seems like the Isles are committed to what they have. That has been a theme of the season.

But, the question is still the same. To do or not to do, that is the question.

Should the Islanders buy at the deadline and get instant fixes to get better? Or, should the Islanders stay put at the deadline and work with what they have?

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I for sure would not expect the Islanders to be sellers at the deadline for that would literally be throwing first place out the window.

However, there is still a dilemma. The Islanders are rolling, but can they keep rolling or will they eventually be halted by teams who do buy at the deadline?

That dilemma will take care of itself by the time comes around.

For starters, the Islanders are in a spot where they are in large part to their goaltending. Heading into the break, Robin Lehner led the league in save percentage.

So, if that changes, they will be exposed more. Also, let’s not forget, the only true elite to border line elite player on the Islanders is Mathew Barzal. Anders Lee is outstanding but just a tad off pace of my elite status right now.

So, a big issue the Islanders could face is their talent can no longer out weigh their tactics. For example, the Islanders open their second half playing the Lightning.

The Lightning are a team the Islanders already beat this season, but the Lightning still have way more talent on paper than the Isles. That has to eventually catch up with them.

The Isles, by the end of next month, might finally realize that they need to go get someone to stuff the gap between their teams and the Eastern elite on paper just to be safe.

Also, another thing that could happen is the Islanders suffer a derailing injury. So far this season, the Islanders have been blessed with solid health.

Surely, not perfect, but no loss has been too significant. Andrew Laad’s production, or lack thereof, has not been too missed, he has done nothing for them.

Then, Thomas Hickey‘s injury has been a big blow, but that has partially resulted in the emergence of Devon Toews and he has been great.

Guys have missed time here and there, but overall the Islanders have been healthy.

Let’s say if by the deadline a player like Josh Bailey, Barzal, or Lee get hurt? Even if they were to get hurt and not miss a lot of time, any time missed could force the Islanders to replace their production by the deadline.

The Islanders should, of course, have a tentative plan of what they want to do at the deadline. They have decisions to make on players like Brock Nelson, Jordan Eberle, and even Lehner to make. They are all on expiring contracts.

The best thing might just be to realize there is not much of a return worth getting for them and seeing just how far Barry Trotz can take this team this year, but it is not that simple.

The Islanders are comfortably in a playoff spot. They are in the middle of a two-year playoff drought which is like an eternity for the NHL.

So, they should keep their eyes on the prize and keep doing what has gotten them this far and in a great spot.

However, don’t let the season waste away either because it doesn’t fit the plan.

The Islanders’ dilemma is not different or more difficult than every other team in the playoff race right now. I just feel like out of all the teams in the playoff race, the Isles’ season has been the most magical.

Will the clock ever strike midnight on the boys in blue and orange? Maybe not.

But one thing is for sure, the deadline dilemma will take care of itself by the time it rolls around. We will know where the Islanders stand and what they need.

dark. Next. Islanders should err on the side of caution at the deadline?

Barry Trotz and Lou Lamoriello will know what that is more than any of us, so let’s just keep enjoying the ride.

So come February 25, keep refreshing your Twitter feed and Google searches because something will happen it’s just a matter of what.