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NHL Trade buzz: Islanders could look for help on defense

Domi not worried about rumors, only helping Coyotes @NHLdotcom

Welcome to the NHL Trade Buzz. There are 20 days remaining until the 2018 NHL Trade Deadline (3 p.m. ET, Feb. 26). Will the New York Islanders improve their ailing defense to bolster their push for a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs? Is Arizona Coyotes forward Max Domi on the trading block? And what does he think of the rumors that he might be?

Here's a look around the League at the latest deadline doings:


New York Islanders

The Islanders' need for help on defense may have intensified Monday because of another injury to a defenseman.

Scott Mayfield left the game against the Nashville Predators in the first period because of a lower-body injury after blocking a shot by P.K. Subban. Islanders coach Doug Weight did not have an update on Mayfield's status following the Islanders' 5-4 overtime loss and the team has Tuesday off, so there won't be any public news on Mayfield until Wednesday at the earliest.

The Islanders, who led 4-2 late in the second period Monday, already are thin on defense because they're playing without two top-four defensemen, Johnny Boychuk (lower body) and Calvin de Haan (upper body).

De Haan, who last played Dec. 16, has missed 21 games is out indefinitely. Boychuk last played Dec. 27 but participated in the morning skate Monday. Weight said he's hopeful Boychuk could return this week, but also sounded like that might be a reach.

The Islanders play at the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; TVA Sports, MSG-B, MSG+ 2), at home against the Detroit Red Wings on Friday and at home against the Calgary Flames on Sunday.

"He's having trouble getting any further in the process right now," Weight said of Boychuk.

The injury problems on defense also have put a strain on goaltenders Jaroslav Halak and Thomas Greiss.

New York has allowed 30 or more shots on goal in 20 consecutive games, including 40 or more in four in a row and in 10 of the past 20. They are 8-9-3 in those 20 games, including 4-4-2 when they've allowed at least 40 shots.

If Mayfield is going to miss a significant amount of time and Boychuk can't return soon, the injury woes and the impact they're having could spring general manager Garth Snow into action to address the defense before the trade deadline.

Weight basically said after the game Monday that the shot volume against his goalies can't continue if the Islanders want to stay in the Stanley Cup Playoff race.

The point they gained by reaching overtime against the Predators was enough to move them past the Philadelphia Flyers and into the second wild card from the Eastern Conference. They're one point ahead of the Flyers, but three points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for third place in the Metropolitan Division.


Arizona Coyotes

The Coyotes are last in the NHL with 33 points and forward Max Domi has struggled with 22 points (three goals, 19 assists) in 52 games, so naturally the 22-year-old's name is coming up in discussions leading into the trade deadline.

Coyotes general manager John Chayka told the Arizona Republic on Monday that any rumors about him shopping Domi are inaccurate, but allowed that he "will listen on anything."

Tweet from @BigRickMorin: Chayka did maintain that he will "listen on anything," but that #Yotes are happy with their young players, Domi included.

Domi addressed the trade speculation after Arizona's morning skate Tuesday. The Coyotes play the Winnipeg Jets at Bell MTS Place (8 p.m. ET; TSN3, FS-A PLUS, NHL.TV).

"I show up to the rink every day and try to have fun with my teammates," Domi said. "That stuff is out of our control. Whatever happens, happens. I love Arizona, I love playing there. And like I said, [trade rumors] are out of my control."

Domi said the rumors do not affect him.

"Rumors are rumors, but like I said, if that happens, it happens and there's not a whole lot I can do about it," he said. "Just come and play hard every shift and have fun with my teammates."

Domi was the Coyotes' first-round pick (No. 12) in the 2013 NHL Draft. He has 112 points (30 goals, 82 assists) in 192 games. He's in the final season of his three-year, entry-level contract and can become a restricted free agent July 1.

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