Islanders trade rumors: What firepower is out there after Bo Horvat?

Islanders president and general manager Lou Lamoriello didn’t rule out making another move after acquiring Bo Horvat from the Vancouver Canucks on Monday.

“I believe if something presented itself,” he began, “we’ll do the best we can.”

Horvat packs the scoring punch that the Islanders have so desperately lacked over the past four years, but it becomes clear when going through the current state of the roster that the team needs one more piece to add to their top six. 

Five of the six members of the top two lines are already set: The second unit of Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, and Kyle Palmieri starred before the All-Star break, but Palmieri could be shifted up to the first line where Horvat is likely to center a trio flanked by Barzal.

Regardless, there’s a massive question mark at one of the wing spots in the top six and the likes of fourth-line center Casey Cizikas — who had moonlighted as a first-line winger in recent games — or the injured Hudson Fasching are unlikely to provide the firepower needed to supplement a steady, imposing attack. 

Oliver Wahlstrom would have been the logical option to put at the right-wing spot on the first or second line, but he is out indefinitely due to an upper-body injury that could very well keep him out for the rest of the season.

The Islanders have until the March 3 NHL trade deadline to figure it out, though their stable of assets has obviously decreased significantly after trading Anthony Beauvillier, top prospect Aatu Raty, and a conditional 2023 first-round pick to Vancouver for Horvat:

Potential Islanders trade targets

Timo Meier

Islanders trade rumors trade deadline
San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl (48) celebrates with right wing Timo Meier after scoring during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Philadelphia Flyers in San Jose, Calif., Thursday, Dec. 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
  • Team: San Jose Sharks
  • Position: RW
  • 2022-23 stats: 28 goals, 20 assists, 51 games
  • Estimated remaining cap hit (courtesy of Cap Friendly): $2,270,270

The acquisition of Meier would put the Islanders’ offense into a completely different stratosphere, creating an impressive-looking first line of Barzal on the left, Horvat in the middle, and Meier on the right. After scoring 35 goals last season, the 26-year-old is on the verge of hitting that 30 mark again. The problem is the Sharks are going to be asking for at least one first-rounder — and the Islanders have already dealt this year’s pick to the Canucks. They also have a thin farm system of talent, which would make this deal all the more difficult to complete for the pending free agent.

Vladimir Tarasenko

Vladimir Tarasenko Islanders trade rumors
Vladimir Tarasenko (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
  • Team: St. Louis Blues
  • Position: RW
  • 2022-23 stats: 10 goals, 19 assists, 38 games
  • Estimated remaining cap hit (courtesy of Cap Friendly): $2,837,838

This could finally be the year that Tarasenko is dealt from St. Louis, two years after an initial trade request. The 31-year-old is well off his 34-goal pace from last season, but placing him on the flank of Barzal and Horvat would certainly set him up in an advantageous situation. It has been rumored that Tarasenko would waive his no-movement clause for the Islanders, but is not a given.

Patrick Kane

Rangers potentially Patrick Kane
Chicago Blackhawks’ Max Domi (13) celebrates with Patrick Kane (88) and Tyler Johnson (90) after scoring against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the first period of an NHL hockey game Friday, Dec. 23, 2022, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)AP Photos
  • Team: Chicago Blackhawks
  • Position: RW
  • 2022-23 stats: 9 goals, 25 assists, 45 games
  • Estimated remaining cap hit (courtesy of Cap Friendly): $3,972,973

Kane is more linked to the crosstown-rival Rangers — and the Blackhawks will obviously be looking for a considerable bounty for a franchise legend — but purely as a rental, Kane would be worth taking a flyer on. A three-time Stanley Cup champion and one of the top playmakers in the NHL for a decade, the 33-year-old has been on a struggling Chicago team that has been devoid of a legitimate spark to support the playmaker.

Mike Hoffman

  • Team: Montreal Canadiens
  • Position: RW
  • 2022-23 stats: 9 goals, 9 assists, 37 games
  • Estimated remaining cap hit (courtesy of Cap Friendly): $1,702,703

Hoffman’s production in recent years won’t jump off the page. After scoring 15 goals in 67 games last season, he has just nine in 37 this year. But on a bad Canadiens team, the sniper hasn’t been set up nearly as often as he was during his better days with the Ottawa Senators and Florida Panthers. Averaging 3.1 shots per game from 2015-2020, Hoffman is averaging just 2.2 shots per game since the start of the 2020-21 season. A power-play menace when he’s going, he’s due $4.5 million next season.

For more on Islanders trade rumors, visit AMNY.com

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