We here at LHH have discussed, mentioned, said, screamed, and complained that John Tavares is in need of a top 6 winger to help lead this team and help boost his production and growth. If you take a look at the market for top 6 wingers, it is pretty slim, and mostly filled with highly paid players who are on their last year of their contracts (e.g. Brad Richards, Jarome Iginla). Although these players would be highly regarded and great leaders on this young team, they will most likely be dealt to contenders at the deadline or resigned by their prospective team. It wouldn't make much sense to trade for either of these players right now (see Ryan Smyth), or any other top 6 forwards who are on expiring contracts. It would be nice to acquire Richards or Iginla after they have resigned because they would be bound to the Isles with the contract they signed elsewhere ...but aside from all of our dreams...
I want to bring up the question: Realistically, WHO COULD BE THIS TOP 6 FORWARD TO PLAY ALONGSIDE JT AND RACK UP SOME POINTS AND COULD ALSO HELP IN THE FUTURE?
It could be a player signed for 5 more years to his team or a player on their final year. Lets see some discussion on who you think could help this team. We have heard the rumors of Garth Snow looking for help on the 1st line. Wo do you think needs a change of scenery around the NHL?
Personally I believe the answer is Simon Gagne. He is signed to the Lightning for only this year at 5.25 million. He was pretty proven in Philly (if you look at his numbers, he had a couple of 40 goal/70 point seasons and a few 20-30 goal/50-60 point seasons). Gagne has been having a rough time in Tampa, not really producing at all (12 games, 2 goals, 3 assists, -11). He is coming off of a neck injury, but is back to playing as of now. Gagne has playoff experience, NHL experience (10 years in the league). I think if the Isles really want to turn around this season they could pursue him as a piece of the future. At the tender age of 30, it would be great to get him and hopefully sign him for 2-5 years to continue the growth of this franchise. He could be the veteran forward we are all looking for to lead the younger Islanders to success - especially if he played on the top line with JT. He was traded to Tampa for Matt Walker and a 4th round pick. Maybe Comeau and a 2012 2nd round pick will get him to the Islanders.
Gagne would be a bit of a gamble because he is only signed to this year then he's a UFA again (I'm scared by this idea, as I said before, Ryan Smyth). I don't think its a great idea to get a guy on their last year of their contract, but it may be worth it to pursue Gagne.