We all have our ideas about how to get the coveted "top-4" defenseman the Islanders are in dire need of.
The characteristics this defenseman should have that would best fit our current situation:
-Crease-clearing ability and size
-Relatively young and can be locked up as part of TEH CORE
-Offensive upside to potentially be a powerplay quarterback
I believe in the theory behind trades that you must give a lot to get a lot. These characteristics are hard to come by in 1 player, but I believe that player could be Oliver Ekman-Larsson.
Looking at Phoenix, they are loaded at defensive depth. They boast a solid blueline now, and have 4 young defensive prospects making their claim to play in the NHL - David Rundblad, Connor Murphy, Brandon Gormley, and Maxim Goncharov.
Phoenix doesn't play in our conference - more of a reason to make a trade with us.
The final pitch - Phoenix needs offensive prospects. They have little-to-none.
Ekman-Larsson was 6th overall pick in 2009 and has spent 1.5 years in the NHL already and is proving his ground as a solid NHLer.
I think to acquire him from Phoenix the Islanders should offer Nino Niederreiter and the 2012 2nd and 3rd round picks.
I would also offer Niederreiter, Kabanov, and the 2012 4th round pick.
To me Nino is expendable. Out of Strome, Lee, Nelson, the Kirills, etc. we are bound to find an offensive talent that would replace Nino. The draft picks allow Phoenix to add more offensive depth over time.
Also, adding Ekman-Larsson would give us a top-4 defense made up of Streit, Hamonic, MacDonald, and Ekman-Larsson. Add deHaan, Donovan, Ness and our 2012 1st round draft pick (bound to be a defenseman this year), and we are looking at a much more solid defensive corps.