3 Upgrades New York Islanders Need In The New Year

The New York Islanders are in a pretty good position points-wise in the standings, but they have lost more games than they have won this season. While sitting in a playoff spot at the moment, that can go away very quickly if they struggle and don't find adequate help in their lineup. This is what they can upgrade to stay in the playoffs this season.

Top-6 Winger

While I expect the Islanders to eventually get Ryan Puloch and Adam Pelech back from injury, there is no internal top-six winger that is going to magically appear for them. To this point, there have been players tested in that role, but Brock Nelson and Kyle Palmieri need someone who can execute at a rate close to them.

Depth isn't the problem here, it's Pierre Engvall or Oliver Wahlstrom or Hudson Fasching playing a little too high in the lineup and not providing enough in that role. Don't get me wrong, I like all of them in the Islanders lineup, but as third or fourth line players. They need to acquire a real top-six talent for their run and for down the stretch where games are very important to get them in the playoffs. The team will be in a battle all season to get in.

Fourth Line Winger

The fourth line of Matt Martin, Casey Cizikas, and Cal Clutterbuck has been good for many years, but the Islanders are really pushing how long they are going to run with the exact same trio. They have clearly become less effective recently and I think it's time to change things up. There are some younger players on the roster that can fill, but if they want someone who can play that style of game, target someone who isn't in their 30s to do so. While Ross Johnston could have been that replacement, he didn't work out. There are going to be options, and maybe they can also find someone who can produce a bit more than Martin.

Defensive Depth

Although the Islanders already acquired Robert Bortuzzo, he hasn't exactly been very effective for them. There have been some young replacements in the lineup since the two top defensemen have been out. Acquiring another depth piece for cheap wouldn't be the worst idea.

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