A quarter of the way through the 2023-24 season, the New York Islanders have endured a campaign of mixed results. The Islanders have struggled to hold leads and continue to suffer from a lack of offense. Making matters worse, they are beginning to deal with quite a few injuries, adding to the adversity they have faced in the early going.

Since Lou Lamoriello took over as general manager in 2018, the Islanders have been set on trying to compete. Whether the team should really be in “win-now” mode is up for debate, but that's the way Lamoriello has positioned the team. Even last season, when it looked like the Islanders were very likely to miss the playoffs, Lamoriello was aggressive and acquired Bo Horvat from the Vancouver Canucks.

So assuming his philosophy remains the same, there's a good chance we see the Islanders look to make an addition via the trade market at some point this season. The Eastern Conference is wide open, and another quality player could help the team find a bit more success. Below, we take a look at some trade targets if New York continues to be aggressive in adding to their roster.

Travis Konecny would boost Islanders' offense

If Travis Konecny can remain healthy, he will be a key performer for John Tortorella

While the Islanders' roster makeup has changed a little over the years, one thing that's remained consistent is the team's inability to score. So far this season, the Islanders rank 30th in the NHL in goals per game.

That being said, Lamoriello has made an effort to bring in offense over the last few years. Jean-Gabriel Pageau was added in 2020, before Kyle Palmieri was brought in during the 2021 shortened season. Then last season, New York took their biggest swing yet, landing Horvat from the Canucks. Lamoriello has shown he's not afraid to part with first-round picks as part of any of these deals, especially if it means he's able to re-sign the player he's acquiring.

With the Philadelphia Flyers entering a rebuild, Travis Konecny could be one of their biggest trade chips. While the Flyers may not really be looking to part with Konecny, there should at least be some consideration on their part to move him. The winger will turn 27 years old in March, and has just one more year remaining on his current contract. By the time the Flyers have a good enough roster to contend, Konecny could be approaching 30 years old.

The winger is coming off a huge year, where he scored 31 goals and 61 points in 60 games. This season, he has 12 goals and 16 points in 22 games. The Islanders are still trying to figure out who to play with Mathew Barzal and Horvat, and Konecny could be a huge addition to that line. Even if it meant having to play either he or Barzal on their off-wing, Konecny would be a great fit.

The Islanders' forward group as it stands still isn't good enough, but Konecny could immediately provide a major upgrade.

Flames could be perfect trade partner for blue line help

Calgary Flames defenseman Nikita Zadorov in Calgary after shockingly requesting a trade

The right side of New York's blue line is set, with Noah Dobson, Ryan Pulock, and Scott Mayfield all being long-term pieces. However, with Adam Pelech on long-term injured reserve and Sebastian Aho out as well, the left side of the Islanders' defense group has taken quite a hit. The Islanders did claim Mike Reilly off waivers from the Florida Panthers, but the blue line could struggle if more external help isn't brought in.

Possibly the most obvious trade partner for the Islanders would be the Calgary Flames. After their poor start, the Flames have reportedly been listening to offers on pending free agents Noah Hanifin and Nikita Zadorov, according to Pierre LeBrun.

Zadorov requested a trade from the Flames, and given his contract status, we should expect one to come. He would fit the Islanders' style of play, as a hard-to-play-against, physical, defense-first blue liner. Even upon Pelech's return, Zadorov would be an upgrade over Aho, and he could really round out the group.

At the same time, Hanifin would be the bigger upgrade. As of now, Dobson is the team's only blue liner that is truly capable of adding offense. While Hanifin wouldn't produce at anywhere near the same rate, he can still help the Islanders' inability to score, and would pretty much instantly turn New York's defense into a top-tier unit.

What could prevent a trade for the Islanders

Image of New York Islanders Noah Dobson and Ilya Sorokin and coach Lane Lambert

There are significant hurdles in place for any deal, though. New York doesn't have a ton of trade capital with a poor prospect pool, and it would really come down to what pieces either team would be looking for. While the Flyers would be looking for future assets, the Flames are arguably still in a more competitive spot. If Calgary wants quality, young roster players in return to help them stay competitive rather than just prospects and picks to build for the future (especially for Hanifin), the Islanders could struggle to make anything work.

The other side of this is New York's cap situation. Pelech being on LTIR can provide relief for this season, and it's possible New York could make a trade work salary-wise for this year, but finding a way to extend any player for subsequent years would be extremely difficult. Based on previous years, Lamoriello does seemingly prioritize being able to re-sign any additions.

The Islanders already have over $80 million committed to their roster for next season, and while the salary cap will be expected to rise, they still have extremely limited wiggle room. Unlike previous years, there's also no bad contract that stands out and could easily be moved to clear cap space, meaning a contributing roster player coming in means a contributing roster player going out.

So while making a deal work will be extremely difficult, we know Lamoriello is willing to be aggressive. If the team seeks out upgrades, any of Konecny, Hanifin, or Zadorov could be possible options.