New York Islanders: No matter what, the Islanders will look different after the deadline

New York Islanders. Andrew Ladd. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
New York Islanders. Andrew Ladd. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

The days leading up to the deadline is very stressful for everybody let alone a first-place team like the New York Islanders. While the idea of going crazy seems nice, the Isles will look different post-deadline not matter what.

The New York Islanders will be a team to watch this weekend and Monday morning into the afternoon because they are poised to make noise by the deadline. But here is the thing, after Monday this team will look different no matter what.

All week I have been preaching that the Isles should focus on getting wing help, but Lou Lamoriello does not care what I think.

That leaves this huge mysterious aspect to this deadline. For starters, the Isles were never supposed to be in the playoff race at this point in the season, they are. Then, Lou Lamoriello was supposed to come in and begin a multi-year rebuild, they still might be re-building, who knows. Now, the Isles are sitting pretty in first place in spite of whatever narrative you have. That is a fact.

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But then, as if things couldn’t get juicier, they have. While even the Devils still have a chance to win the Metropolitan Division, the Isles real threats to take over the top spot from the Islanders are the Capitals and the Blue Jackets. The Penguins are always floating around near the top of the Metro race too, but that’s par for the course at this point.

Anyway, while no one still knows what the Isles will do, and no one will until Monday because Lou, the Blue Jackets and Capitals have already made a massive a splash. The Blue Jackets just traded to acquire Matt Duchene from the Senators, while they were in Ottawa of all place. All the while, the Capitals traded for Carl Hagelin and Nick Jensen.

So, aside from the fact that the Blue Jackets, again, a huge threat to take the Isles out first place in the division, might either be totally going for it and will no longer trade Artemi Panarin, who the Isles need, or they might be getting Duchene to lighten the load of losing an asset like Panarin, CBJ are major players.

As for the Islanders now, the chances of Panarin seem slim. There is still reason to hold out hope, though, as I just mentioned why. What is riveting about the Islanders though is that people seem to be forgetting. People seem to be forgetting that the Isles are getting some players back soon.

Any day now Andrew Ladd and Thomas Hickey will return to the Islanders and re-gain their spots in the lineup. Hickey has played in just 32 games, none since December 17th and Ladd has played in only 14 games this season and he’s been out November.

Here is tweet basically saying that no matter what, the Isles are holding out Ladd and Hickey in case they make moves or need to bring them back to changeup the team.

Right now, their production from when they were healthy is not important, although Ladd’s half a point per game might be about what is on the market right now. What is important is that the Isles have played in 60 games prior to this writing and will be 61 down at the deadline.

So, even if the Islanders dig deep and decide to be the Islanders we all know and love pre literally this season, and they do nothing at the deadline, then the all the lines will still be changed.

Even if both Ladd and Hickey comes back the game before the deadline in Vancouver, which makes no sense, anyway, they have been gone so long it’s almost forgotten what they bring. It’ll be like bringing in a whole new face to the team in terms of playing style.

Getting a player on the market would take the same amount of time to adjust to this team and the style as it would for returning players who have missed multiple months. The Islanders are also going to have to give up something on their roster now to bring back these two players, not trading away to a different team, but still giving up something.

So, for all those torn on whether to root for the Isles to go all-in at the deadline or for the Isles to stay on track and maintain the orderly conduct they play with now, understand this. No matter what, the Islanders are going to look different at the deadline. Those two players coming back change things up as much as a random trade asset would.

The only difference is if the Islanders make a massive splash and get someone who is elite and re-defines what productive means to this team, like a Panarin. Then that is a full-blown upgrade and will make a difference.

But, if that does not happen, then the Isles could still make trades to bring in new faces, but it might now work as much. Ladd or Hickey coming back wouldn’t be much worse.

So, no matter how you look at it, the Islanders’ team will likely look different after the deadline of not very soon after. The Islanders are not going to let players like Ladd and Hickey rot on the bench and they’ll have to re-learn the chemistry.

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Now, the only thing to be determined is if Ladd and Hickey coming back are the biggest change or if they come back in addition to a new face being brought in. No matter what, something has got to give.