Matt Duscene
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With a week left until the trade deadline, sellers are flaunting their talent, and the first-place New York Islanders are seeking a boost.

Matt Di Giacomo

For the last three seasons, trade rumors have swirled around Ottawa Senators center Matt Duchene. After coming close last year, the New York Islanders may finally grab him.

Islanders fans’ demand for Duchene to don the blue and orange predates the current regime by a couple of seasons. However, the team needs him now more than ever.

The Islanders have compiled an 18-3-2 since Dec. 23, and they show no signs of slowing down after their latest 5-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers. But one problem that has persisted despite their success is a lack of depth at center.

That issue was especially highlighted by Leo Komarov‘s stint at center in Valtteri Filppula‘s brief absence.

What a deal for Duchene would look like is anyone’s guess, but the Senators seem keen on declaring an all-out rebuild and will likely look to trend younger. Mark Stone is also rumored to be on the move, especially after he missed the Sens’ latest team practice.

Ottawa would probably prefer someone like Anthony Beauvillier over the seasoned Brock Nelson from New York. Regardless of the player dealt, however, expect the Isles’ first-round selection in the 2019 draft to be in play.

Another factor to keep in mind is that Lou Lamoriello‘s radar extends farther than Duchene. Isles scouts are stationed at several of the 30 other venues in the NHL.

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Nassau to Brooklyn?

The NHL recently announced that if the Islanders make the playoffs, they will play round one at Nassau Coliseum. If they advance, the team would return to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

This situation shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone. Suites are where the majority of revenue is brought in, and the Barclays Center dominates the Coliseum in this regard.

A return to the Coliseum was a welcome gesture by the Islanders and the NHL when it was first announced last season. The only downside of the change is that it continues to tease a full-time return to Long Island.

The NHL is clearly not ready to commit to such a move.

The fan base felt optimistic about the initial announcement, but this decision only makes things more complicated going forward. The Islanders are again stuck between an arena that wants them out and another that would love to host the team but cannot support them.

Nearing Return

Both Andrew Ladd and Thomas Hickey took another step toward a return in the Bridgeport Sound Tigers‘ 7-3 victory over the Charlotte Checkers. Ladd tallied three assists while Hickey netted a goal and two assists.

Prior to joining the Sound Tigers, Hickey was placed on long-term IR, signifying that there’s no rush to bring him back but also allowing the Islanders an extra roster spot until his return.

Standing at first overall in goals allowed, the Islanders have no concerns on defense. However, their offense is just 21st overall in the NHL in goals scored.

Ladd’s return to the lineup will give the Islanders’ middle-six a much-needed jolt. Prior to his injury, the 33-year-old scored three goals and seven points in 14 games.

The Islanders return to action in Calgary where they’ll take on one of the few teams ahead of them in the standings.

Grew up a diehard Islanders and Mets fan based out of Northern New Jersey. Concluding my Broadcast Communications degree at William Paterson University. WP Sportsdesk member, Stan Fischler correspondent, music buff and total Star Wars freak. Follow my social media handles to learn more. Matt Di Giacomo is a Staff Writer for the Islanders on Elite Sports NY. He encourages team discussion. Tweet him @mdigiacESNY and check out his reviews on YouTube.