Kevin Schultz, Islanders Point Blank:For the past half-decade, give or take, of this rebuild GM Garth Snow has focused on drafting and improving the Islanders from within and not via trades. Of course, it was a splashy trade that got the rebuild going, when Snow traded for Ryan Smyth at the deadline in 2007. Most of the trades the team has engaged in have been to acquire draft picks, many of which are now skating in Bridgeport or at the Coliseum.
By trading Matt Moulson, a five-year Islanders veteran, Snow has made a big trade and sent away one of the “core” Islander players that the team was building around. A big, splashy trade and moving one of the pivotal players in the lineup is a new territory for the rebuild. It’s a big shake up for the team and fanbase, which is, apparently, how Snow intended it.
“I didn’t like the way we’d been playing. We’re better than our record indicates and we need to take the next step,” Snow told Arthur Staple of Newsday. “I can tell you I’m not happy with where we are record-wise. We’re better than this. I wasn’t going to sit by and let games pass.”
The Islanders are off to a 4-3-3 start that has been consistently inconsistent, with big wins over the Penguins and Coyotes, but bad losses to basement teams such as the Flyers and the very Sabres the Islanders just traded with.
With the trade, the Islanders get an elite, playmaking wing to pair with their elite, playmaking center John Tavares. But they paid a fair price in sniper and crease-crasher Matt Moulson and two draft picks. The team will have all season to try and re-sign Vanek or trade him again later on before the trade deadline.
“We had an opportunity to acquire an elite player and given where we we are right now, you go for it,” Snow told TSN’s Bob McKenzie. “If we hadn’t drafted so well, if we didn’t have good prospects, we couldn’t afford to take the risk.”