Day Three of negotiations become a bit unusual… Clearly Peter is up for this but he’s also not feeling the same pressure I am. I’m almost 6 years into a rebuild and this feels like the coming together of a long-awaited coming-out season for my new young team. What can I do to push this deal onto the announcement forum?

Well, my first thought is to put a little mustard on the hot dog…

GM Steve: Your strategy is sort of freezing me from using Teemu, Cousins or the pick in any other opportunities... and yeah, I know I can do whatever I want but for sure, this back and forth has my complete attention. Backstrom is an elite player and I don't get all that many chances to own one.  Either way, please don't use my offer as a chip and we'll tip a glass or two over the next few days.

This message, I figure gets his attention and raises the possibility that I might be shopping some players for other stuff. Unfortunately, I know and I’m sure he knows the value of Backstrom to my team. It will instantly give me the ability to ice four solid lines. And if not instantly, he’s filling the biggest hole I have by far.

So he comes back…

GM Peter: Not using your offer as leverage. Honestly, I want you to have Backstrom. I like seeing teams on the rise take that next step. With you being at the draft, I think the announcement is going to bring some buzz around the league. It's definitely a huge trade. I don't think anybody would expect this move.

Having said that, I considered the offer and spoke to a GM I trust and we both agreed it's not enough. The other GM asked why I wouldn't ask for Ehlers or your 8th ov. haha. I want to find a deal that keeps your core prospects and gives me a good return at the same time. I think we can do that for sure.  My counter offer: 23rd + Pulkkinen + Cousins + 1st 2017

23rd will likely be a few years away and end up being a middle 6 forward unless i hit a homerun.
Pulkkinen has nice top 6 potential but will very likely never reach Backstrom level.   Cousins won't be anything more than a 3 C.   1st 2017 is a bit of a question mark but I am willing to throw in Smith and his 83ov (if you can take his 4.9mil cap for 1 year) if you want.

I think it makes sense for you. it's a big splash for sure. You leave your core prospects and 8th ov untouched. you land an elite center that will consistently be in the 78-80 range. you get a big upgrade in G. you got guys coming up so Pulkkinen gone won't even be noticed. you replace Cousins with Backstrom. It just seems to make a lot of sense, and 2 1sts, Pulkkinen and Cousins is a good return
If the 1st is a no-go for you, what would be a replacement piece?

Now I’m like WTF? This guy is practically negotiating the deal for me. He’s willing to ‘throw in’ a goalie whose OV is 8 points higher than anything I have and who isn’t going to cost me what I knew I would have to spend to get one with over 80+ OV for this season. Alarm bells are going off all over the place. Anytime someone says “I want you to have my guy.” I’m thinking I’m about to get ripped off.

But… it’s Backstrom… and now it’s Backstrom and Smith. What am I missing here? I’m giving up a couple of nice picks for sure, and two good kids… But this deal can’t hurt me unless Backstrom goes and joins ISIS in the off season. I decide to play it as it lays and wait until I get to JD’s Draft Headquarters.

And then we end up completing the deal within five minutes at the draft table…. It’s Backstrom and Smith for Pulkkinen, Cousins, the 23rd pick I got in the Muzzin deal, plus my 1st next year. What the hell, right? I can replace the guys I’m shipping out and my picks are not going to be lottery picks, right?  And I have very fond memories of the last time a goalie named Smith played for the Islanders.

Tune in next time for the 2016-17 Islanders Projected Lineup and Other Bullshit.