NHL On NBCSN: How active should Islanders be ahead of trade deadline?

NBCSN’s coverage of the 2020-21 NHL season continues with Monday’s matchup between the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins. Islanders-Penguins stream coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

The New York Islanders are in an interesting position as the NHL trade deadline approaches over the next couple of weeks.

They are clearly one of the better teams in the NHL and should be considered a contender, something that would already make them a prospective buyer in the trade market. They enter Monday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins (6:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN) two points back of Washington for the top spot in the East Division and two points ahead of Pittsburgh for the second spot. When you add in the injury to team captain Anders Lee, who will miss the remainder of the season, it would seem to only add to the motivation for general manager Lou Lamoriello to make a trade. Or multiple trade.

With Lee on LTIR the Islanders have the flexibility to add somebody significant to help fill that void. But how active is Lamoriello going to be, and what exactly should he be in the market for to help the Islanders?

In speaking with The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun this past week (link here; subscription required) Lamoriello talked extensively about how any trade would have to make sense with all of the variables, ranging from chemistry to keeping players in their correct roles. He made it clear the Islanders will not make a trade just for the sake of making a trade.

[COVERAGE OF ISLANDERS-PENGUINS BEGINS AT 6:30 P.M. ET – NBCSN]

If you have followed the Islanders’ transactions since Lamoriello took over as the team’s general manager, it is pretty clear that he has taken a patient approach in building this roster. Of the 29 different players that have appeared in at least one game for the Islanders this season, 18 of them were already in the organization when Lamoriello arrived in 2018. That includes six of the top-seven point producers on the roster this season.

Overall, Lamoriello has only made seven total trades as Islanders general manager, while only a couple of them brought an NHL player back to New York.

  • July 3, 2018: Eamon McAdam to Toronto Maple Leafs for Matt Martin.
  • February 16, 2020: David Quenneville and a second-round pick to New Jersey Devils for Andy Greene.
  • February 24, 2020: Matt Lorito to Toronto Maple Leaf for Jordan Schmaltz.
  • February 24, 2020: Three draft picks to Ottawa Senators for Jean-Gabriel Pageau.
  • October 11, 2020: Kyle Burroughs to Colorado Avalanche for AJ Greer.
  • October 12, 2020: Devon Toews to Colorado Avalanche for two second-round draft picks.
  • December 11, 2020: Future considerations to Detroit Red Wings for Dmytro Timashov.

That is it. Not a ton of difference-makers or game-changers in there outside of adding Pageau and trading Toews. The Martin, Pageau, and Greene trades are the only ones that brought an NHL regular to New York, while the Toews trade is the only one that saw him send an NHL regular away. That trade was made almost entirely due to salary cap compliance.

Pageau and Greene were pending free agents at the time of their trades at the deadline a year ago. Pageau was immediately re-signed to a six-year contract extension while Greene was brought back during the offseason.

The incentive to make a trade is simple: The Islanders were only a middle-of-the-pack team offensively even with Lee, and without him they are losing one of their most productive and important goal scorers. But even with that the Islanders do have some intriguing X-factors on the roster to help fill that spot. Oliver Wahlstrom looks like he is on track to becoming a top-line player in the NHL and has been especially hot in recent games. Kieffer Bellows is also on the NHL roster at the moment and has scored three goals since Lee was injured.

[Contender or Pretender: Islanders can ruin your team’s postseason dreams]

Young players like that knocking on the door and starting to make an impact could certainly alter their plans.

As for choices outside of the organization, you have to consider the obvious names that are going to be available.

Would Taylor Hall fit the Islanders’ style of play? He is willing to accept a trade out of Buffalo and his value is at an all-time low right now so the Islanders (or any team) could theoretically get him at a bargain basement price.

Kyle Palmieri would be an intriguing Lee replacement if the New Jersey Devils decided to part ways and were willing to trade him within the division.

Then there is Columbus’ Nick Foligno as a possibility. Both he and Palmieri would seem to be strong fits within the Islanders’ structure, even as short-term rentals. They may not replace Lee entirely (on the ice or off of it) but they would be more than acceptable replacements to help give the Islanders some added offensive punch.

Beyond that there is not really much that this roster needs. With Semyon Varlamov and Ilya Sorokin playing at a high level in goal there is no need for an addition there, and while the defense lacks a true “No. 1 defender” it is still a very strong group (led by the Adam PelechRyan Pulock duo) that does not have any real weakness.

Forwards should be the name of the game here, assuming Lamoriello opts to get involved with the trade market this season and he has a decent choice of options to pick from.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

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    Bruins set NHL record with 12 straight home wins to start season

    Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
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    BOSTON — The Boston Bruins set the NHL record for most home victories to start a season with their 12th straight, topping the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 in overtime with a power-play goal from David Pastrnak.

    The Bruins broke the mark of 11 that was set by the 1963-64 Chicago Blackhawks and equaled by the Florida Panthers last season.

    “That felt awesome,” Bruins first-year coach Jim Montgomery said. “We talked about it after the second (period) going into the third. There’s been a lot of great teams in this league and you’re able to set a precedent, break a record. It’s pretty special and it doesn’t happen if those guys don’t believe in themselves like they do.”

    Boston, which trailed 2-0 late in the second period, tied it with 9:33 left in regulation when David Krejci scored his second of the game on a shot from the right point.

    “It’s never fun being down going into the third, you’re sitting in here (in the locker room) trying to figure it out,” Krejci said. “You want to come out and do the job, something special on the line. It’s hard to win in this league. To get 12 in a row at home is pretty special.”

    In overtime, Carolina was playing shorthanded after being called for too many men on the ice when Pastrnak one-timed a pass from Brad Marchand inside the far post from above the left circle.

    “It was a big win for us, obviously, coming from behind,” Pastrnak said.

    Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Stefan Noesen each scored a power-play goal for Carolina, and Pyotr Kochetkov made 38 saves. The Hurricanes lost their fifth straight.

    In a rematch of last spring’s opening-round playoff series that the Hurricanes won in seven games, Carolina shutout the NHL’s highest scoring team for nearly two periods and jumped ahead a pair of power-play goals in the opening period.

    “We took too many penalties. That’s hurting us right now,” Kotaniemi said. “I think 5-on-5 we’re doing a really good job. We started good tonight and couldn’t keep that up.”

    Boston’s tying goal was originally disallowed because of goaltender interference on Nick Foligno but overturned on a coach’s challenge after it was ruled that he was nudged into the crease by Carolina defenseman Brett Pesce.

    Boston starting goaltender Linus Ullmark made 28 saves but had to leave with 13:03 left in the third period with an undisclosed upper-body injury. Teammate Connor Clifton had jumped on him to block a shot during a scramble. Jeremy Swayman made six stops in relief.

    Carolina’s Noesen scored at 6:34 in to make it 1-0. And with five minutes left in the period, Kotkaniemi collected the puck near the side of the net after Seth Jarvis‘ shot bounced off the back glass and slipped it inside the post at 15:05.

    Krejci scored for Boston with 31 seconds left in the second.

    Boston came in with a league-high 82 goals in 20 games (4.10 per game), but it was held to relatively few chances despite getting a 5-on-3 power-play advantage early on.

    TAKE NOTE

    The Bruins honored captain Patrice Bergeron, who recorded his 1,000th career point when the team was on the road against Tampa Bay, with a message on the Jumbotron. The crowd gave him a standing ovation.

    Bergeron became just the fourth Bruin to reach the mark, joining Hall of Famers Ray Bourque (1,506), Johnny Bucyk (1,339) and Phil Esposito (1,012).

    UP NEXT

    Hurricanes: Host the Calgary Flames.

    Bruins: Host the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    Predators postpone 2 games due to Nashville water main break

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    NASHVILLE, Tenn. —  The Nashville Predators postponed two home games because of a water main break that soaked their downtown arena.

    Hours after the Predators decided they couldn’t play against the Colorado Avalanche, the team announced it also postponed the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Makeup dates for the two games will be announced later.

    The NHL said the water main break that occurred “significantly impacted the event level” of Bridgestone Arena. Team locker rooms and the ice surface are on the event level.

    Predators President and CEO Sean Henry told reporters that the water in the event level ranged from 3 inches to 3 feet.

    “We’re assessing it right now. We’re remediating it,” Henry said. “The good thing is, the water got shut off, the city responded in a pretty fast manner. I don’t think anyone is ready for things like this the Friday after Thanksgiving.”

    Video posted by a WTVF-TV reporter shows the water puddled up on the main floor’s concourse area and the team store. The team was forced to close the store until further notice, pointing shoppers online for Black Friday specials.

    The Predators’ next home game is now scheduled for Tuesday against the Anaheim Ducks.

    The water issue also resulted in a switch to a different venue for a college hockey game between Northeastern and Western Michigan. They also had been scheduled to play at Bridgestone Arena, a game that was moved to Ford Ice Center Bellevue.

    Rangers trade Ryan Reaves to Wild for 5th-round pick in 2025

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    ST. PAUL, Minn. — The New York Rangers traded enforcer Ryan Reaves to the Minnesota Wild for a 2025 fifth-round pick.

    Reaves had been a healthy scratch for eight of the past 12 games for the Rangers. He gives struggling Minnesota some extra muscle and a veteran presence.

    The 35-year-old is signed through only the rest of this season at a $1.75 million salary cap hit. He has no points and 12 penalty minutes in 12 games of his second season with New York.

    Reaves has played in 869 NHL regular-season and playoff games for the St. Louis Blues, Pittsburgh Penguins, Vegas Golden Knights and Rangers. He was with the Golden Knights during their inaugural season in 2017-18 when the reached the Stanley Cup Final.

    Toronto’s Morgan Rielly placed on long-term injured reserve

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    TORONTO — The Toronto Maple Leafs placed defenseman Morgan Rielly on long-term injured reserve with a knee injury.

    Rielly was hurt in a collision with with New York forward Kyle Palmieri early in the third period of Toronto’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Islanders at home.

    Rielly has no goals and 16 assists in 20 games this season and is averaging 23 minutes of ice time.

    Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said following practice that the 28-year-old Rielly doesn’t need surgery, adding there’s no firm timeline for his return beyond the minimum 24 days and 10 games required for going on long-term injured reserve.

    Toronto’s defense is also missing Jake Muzzin with a neck injury and T.J. Brodie with an injured oblique.