New York Islanders: 3 underrated forward options in free agency

New York Islanders, Matt Nieto

The New York Islanders do not have a lot of cap space to work with, and everyone knows that. So, the Islanders might have to pick up some underrated forwards for the 3rd year in a row. Sadly, this article will not cover optimistic topics like Mike Hoffman and Patrik Laine. This article will cover 3rd liners and possible 2nd liners. There are three underrated free-agent options I can see the Isles targeting this year.

Three potential free-agent options for the New York Islanders:

Matt Nieto

Matt Nieto is one of the fastest guys in the league, but no one knows it. Nieto recorded eight goals and 13 assists for the Avalanche this season and is fully in prime form. Though these aren’t impressive numbers, he is still a solid forward option. He’s a great two-way forward and fits Barry Trotz’s system. Nieto could perfectly fill in the third line winger spot with Pageau and Kieffer Bellows on his side.

Erik Haula

I’ve wanted to see Haula be traded to the Isles for such a long time. Haula is such an underrated forward. He brings so much grit to every team he’s been on. Haula is also a bit of a goal scorer. If Haula was able to play a full 68 games this year, he was on pace for 20 goals. As a matter of fact, just two years ago, Haula recorded 29 goals and 26 assists while missing six games. I would love to see Lamoriello make this signing.

Bobby Ryan

Yes, you heard me clearly, I would love to see the Isles sign, Bobby Ryan. Ryan just had his contract bought out by the Ottawa Senators today. Bobby Ryan is poised for at least another two good seasons. He’s a great Hockey player, and great Hockey players always find a way to get it done. Although Ryan has missed a ton of time as of late, he should be ready to step up his play. The contract would be cheap, and it would be up to Ryan to prove his worth on the ice. It’s a low risk, high reward for the Isles.

New York Islanders: Cole Coskey is the Next Big Thing

Cole Coskey, New York Islanders

The New York Islanders drafted forward Cole Coskey in the 7th round of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. After being drafted, Coskey would return to his OHL team, the Saginaw Spirit. Coskey broke out this year and put himself on the radar for Islanders fans. The Islanders did not offer Coskey a contract after drafting him, but just recently, they did. The Islanders have a gem on their hands unless their AHL coach Brent Thompson ruins another prospect.

Time with Saginaw Spirit

Cole Coskey is a huge part of Saginaw’s history. Coskey has been a part of the organization since he was 15 years old. Dave Drinkill, the general manager of Saginaw, said, “Coskey grew up right in front of our very eyes.” Not only did Coskey have a great 2019, but he set records for Saginaw. Coskey is the leader in games played all-time for Saginaw with 302. Coskey is also third all-time in points for Saginaw with 235, third all-time in goals for Saginaw with 106, and 4th all-time in assists with 129. Do not expect this kind of production in the NHL or even the AHL, but it’s still very exciting to see.

When will Coskey be Ready?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question. Prospects, especially late-round picks, vary on their development time. This also depends on the coaching of the AHL team. Brent Thompson is not the guy for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Thompson has done players like Kieffer Bellows, Mitch Vande Sompel, and Parker Wotherspoon, all a disservice. ¬†Despite this, Coskey is a very solid two-way winger, and that will only help him shine in Trotz’s system. If Coskey can keep up his production, he will be an undeniable pull-up. At best, Coskey is a Nazem Kadri/Erik Haula. At worst, he’s a Michael Dal Colle. I give it 2-3 years before he’s fully ready for the NHL.

Conclusion

The thing with the OHL is that it’s not hard to be good. Michael Dal Colle, who was supposed to be the next great winger for the Isles, recorded 95 points in 2013. Dal Colle is a nothing player now. This isn’t discounting how good Coskey could be, though. It’s merely just a “don’t get your hopes high up.” Cole Coskey is a diamond in the rough for this Islanders team, and Islanders fans will hopefully get to see him play soon.