Calvin de Haan is having the most consistent season of his career – and his best. The 2009 12th overall pick never became the offensive play-making force fans had hoped, but after battling shoulder injuries early in his career he’s matured into a reliable and steady defenseman capable of playing top 4 minutes for a playoff caliber team.
Nevertheless, these could be the final games in an Islanders sweater for de Haan for reasons having nothing to do with his play. The 25 year-old defenseman is a RFA after this season at an extremely cheap 1.9 AAV, making his a top target for Las Vegas during this summer’s expansion draft.
Another argument for trading de Haan before the deadline is that as good as he’s been, he’s also replaceable. While a modest 3 goals and 11 assists to have de Haan on pace for career highs in both categories, the combination of Adam Pelech showing that he is ready to log NHL minutes while Travis Harmonic is out and Ryan Pulock back healthy and scoring at Bridgeport may have Garth Snow believing that the team can continue on their playoff push even if they move de Haan before the deadline.
As Arthur Staple wrote this week in his mailbag:
The one thing playing in the Isles’ favor as a buyer is their surplus of defensemen. If Garth Snow and Doug Weight see more progress from Adam Pelech and are convinced that Ryan Pulock can be a regular down the stretch, then perhaps Calvin de Haan could become expendable in some sort of deadline package.
The question is whether or not teams would prefer de Haan in a larger package to land an elite winger (Matt Duchene) or Travis Hamonic coming off an injury and in a year where he has struggled after rescinding his trade request and being paired with Nick Leddy earlier in the season.
The frustrating part for the team and fans is that at still a very young 25, de Haan appears to have turned a corner, but traded or not, it could very well be Las Vegas that ends up seeing the player Islanders fans have patiently waited to see develop the last eight years.