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Islanders face dilemma on whether to trade 13th overall pick

June 2, 2022, 8:10 PM ET [55 Comments]
Ben Shelley
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With the New York Islanders missing the postseason, a small bright spot is that the team holds the 13th overall pick in this year’s draft, which is their best pick in four years. However, the question remains whether this pick will be used to help build back their prospect pool or if it’ll be flipped for immediate help instead.

I had previously asked readers whether they expected the Islanders to move the pick and the result was a pretty even split, with 52 per cent of readers saying they thought New York would keep the pick.

The Islanders need to go big this offseason in terms of targeting high-end players to improve their team. However, they’re left in a bit of a tough spot because unless current roster players are moved, they don’t have a ton of cap space. Then even if they created the cap space, targeting high-profile players in free agency means there’s a decent chance they have to overpay them on a contract that could hurt in a couple of years.

A way of avoiding that would opting to go the trade route instead and targeting a player with cost certainty on a good contract. However, the issue is the Islanders don’t have a ton of quality trade chips that they’d be willing to move, making the 13th overall pick arguably their top moveable asset.

The issue with this is that as of now, the Islanders’ core isn’t overly young and their prospect pool isn’t great either, making for a dangerous combination looking down the road. They also don’t have a draft pick surplus where they could afford to move the 13th pick because they had others to compensate.

The Islanders also have to factor in what value the pick can bring back and if they were going to move the pick, how good of a player can they get. The reality is there’s a good chance they would benefit more from making the pick and getting a good player long-term than giving it up for whoever they could acquire in a trade. In giving up the pick, New York would have to target someone who can be with the team for many years in order to make it a worthwhile move. However, if they were to deal it for a high-end player, it would almost certainly require other assets added in as well, which New York really can’t afford to do.

It makes for an interesting dilemma for the Islanders. While the 13th pick is their best trade asset, it’s also their best route to inject young talent into their roster. If they move the pick, they’re missing a key opportunity to build for the years to come but if they keep it, they could be missing a chance to add the piece they need to take the next step right now.


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