NOVEMBER 26, 2017 | 4:47pm ET
SHOULD THE ISLANDERS MAKE A BIG SPLASH?
John Tavares, centre
The New York Islanders have won seven of their last 10 games, sit third in the Metropolitan Division and captain John Tavares is among the NHL's top scorers. To say things are going well in Brooklyn may be an understatement.
But as Larry Brooks of the New York Post suggests, it might be time for the Isles to make a major trade and go on a run for the Stanley Cup.
According to Brooks, the Metro Division may be "wide open" and "this is the time for the Islanders to strike."
But instead of going after a top-line forward, like Buffalo Sabres left wing Evander Kane, who is in the final year of his contract and can become an unrestricted free agent next summer, Brooks believes the Islanders are better off acquiring a top defenseman, with Arizona Coyotes blueliner Oliver Ekman-Larsson being his primary target.
Kane is expected to attract significant interest, as the Sabres sit last in the Eastern Conference, and may end up being traded this season, prior to the trade deadline in late-February.
With Tavares ranking third in the NHL in goals (15) and 11th in points (26), linemate Josh Bailey two points ahead of him for 10th in the NHL, and rookie Mathew Barzal anchoring the team's second line, the Isles may have enough up front to focus on strengthening their defensive corps.
Coyotes GM John Chayka has said numerous times he is not interested in trading Ekman-Larsson, who has one-year left on his contract after this season. However, if the Coyotes cannot gain any ground on the playoffs this season, teams will continue to call and Chayka may be forced to listen.
The Isles have plenty of solid, young assets, along with draft picks, they can package in a trade for a top-pair defenseman, be it Ekman-Larsson or another player.
If Islanders GM Garth Snow cannot convince Chayka to make a move, he'll have to transfer his efforts elsewhere if he wants to improve his blueline.
The Post previously reported this month the Rangers could explore the market on captain Ryan McDonagh if they fall out of the playoff race, though a trade with the Isles may be highly unlikely.
Other potential targets may include, depending on their playoff picture come February, Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, Detroit Red Wings blueliner Mike Green, Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie, or even Vancouver Canucks rearguard Erik Gudbranson.