There aren't many rumors involving the New York Islanders around this NHL trade deadline. That's partly due to the traditionally "close to the vest" ship run by Garth Snow and partly due to the team...just not intending to do much. They aren't dealing their unrestricted free agents (per multiple reports, plus logic), they reportedly aren't dealing a first-round pick (Arthur Staple, Newsday) -- they aren't even dealing their lone known trade-requesting player.
As Dan outlined earlier, the long-running view around this team is they are going to make a go of it with this core for this playoff drive before contract status and what they learn this spring forces changes this summer.
But amid all this nothingness one interesting name has popped up a few times: Mikkel Boedker, the Danish unrestricted free agent who is conveniently having a power play-aided season that is close to a career year.
Staple has mentioned the Coyotes forward a few times over the last few weeks. NHL Network's Brian Lawton added a dash of spice to that on Sunday:
Also hearing Mikkel Boedkers name linked to @NYIslanders today......stay tuned on this one. Boedker is only 26 and making a reasonable 3.75— Brian Lawton (@brianlawton9) February 28, 2016
Is There Anything There?
Lawton, a former NHL player, agent and general manager, certainly has contacts around the league. But he's not known for breaking trades or leaking info that the more go-to reporters don't already have. That he's mentioned the Islanders in connection with the 26-year-old forward shouldn't increase your belief in the odds of something happening.
However, with his word and others it's a good bet the Isles have inquired about Boedker. Again, Staple, the only daily beatwriter covering the club, has mentioned the player a few times over the past few weeks, and the player would be a fit at the right price.
Staple's reporting on Sunday night pretty well sets the scene, not an abnormal approach for Snow:
Here's my sense of #Isles right now: GS is talking to everyone, as he usually does. Not gonna deal his 1st and/or top prospect for rental...— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) February 29, 2016
... But that doesn't mean he does nothing. Team needs one more F with no depth beyond current group. So there's high- and low-level talks.— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) February 29, 2016
Figure names like Boedker (due to price), Andrew Ladd (already dealt, but you know they had to ask) and Jonathan Drouin (due to potential) as some of the top-end talks. Figure other minor depth pieces as the low-end, low glitz and what is ultimately likely to happen by 3 p.m. Monday afternoon.
Should They Dare?
The Islanders could use another forward as insurance for the playoff drive. Mikhail Grabovski is currently on injured reserve and though he's not expected to be out long, he's always an injury risk. Boedker is a versatile and conscientious forward (much like Grabovski) and his salary/cap hit ($3.75 million) is not problematic.
But this late in the season, the challenge isn't payroll nor cap room. It's asking price. The Coyotes are believed to be trying to auction up the price for Boedker, whose value in terms of "supply" may be increasing as other forwards come off the market, whether through trade or by being kept by their teams (e.g. Loui Eriksson in Boston). At one point the Coyotes were reported to be discussing a long-term extension worth around $6 million per year, so take that as you will, but that doesn't sound like the kind of price the Isles would want beyond this season.
Whether it's a "pump and dump" or not, Boedker is enjoying power play time -- 18 of his 39 points have come that way -- and not the type of positive even strength upgrade the Isles "need" to have. If a first-rounder is the asking price, you better really believe the player will make a difference.
Given all that, Snow isn't going to bother winning a bidding war for what is ultimately a mid-tier depth upgrade. The betting here is that some other team more enamored with Boedker's PP production spike outbids Snow.