The New York Islanders are entering a pivotal offseason when general manager (GM) Lou Lamoriello will look to make a splash. After the team missed the playoffs, the top priorities are to acquire speed and pivot to a more offensive-minded game, starting with the promotion of first-year head coach Lane Lambert.
The Boston Bruins, meanwhile, are entering a difficult offseason where they have to decide whether to rebuild or try to make a run at the Stanley Cup with an aging core of star players. As a result, discussions have come up about star scorer David Pastrnak, who could garner a strong return in a deal as one of the league’s best players.
The Islanders could make a move for Pastrnak and go all-in on the upcoming season. Such a deal would come with understandable risks, and the Islanders should avoid making an offer for him. Instead, New York should learn from Pastrnak and his impact on the Bruins and use it as a blueprint for success both next season and for years to come.
Islanders Pursuing Pastrnak Comes with Costs
The Islanders would have to spend a significant amount of assets to acquire arguably the Bruins’ best player. If Boston indeed chooses to rebuild and move on from their core, they will ask for three, if not more, pieces to acquire Pastrnak. In the Islanders’ case, that would likely mean the 13th overall pick in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, along with two prospects.
Like the Chicago Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane, who will also only be moved for a high price, Pastrnak has become one of the faces of the franchise. Aside from sentimental value, the Bruins will likely view the 26-year-old as a player to build around and would only move him for a significant number of young players. Aside from the asking price, the Islanders have to also address Pastrnak’s contract, which expires after the upcoming season. The move for him would likely require a subsequent extension at a higher cap hit, but one the Islanders would be willing to take considering it would keep the star player on the roster for years to come.
New York will have plenty of obstacles off the ice to acquire him, notably Bruins GM Don Sweeney, who was recently extended by the team. However, they would also have to consider where he would best fit into the lineup. Unlike pending free agent Johnny Gaudreau, who uses his speed to gash opponents, Pastrnak is an instinctive well-rounded offensive zone playmaker. While he elevates any shift he plays on, Lambert would still have to figure out whether Pastrnak plays best on the same line as Mathew Barzal, who is one of the best skaters in the NHL, or alongside Brock Nelson, who is one of the team’s best goal scorers.