For 30 team executives, the NHL’s trade deadline is perhaps the most nerve-wrecking time of the season.
New York Islanders GM Garth Snow is no stranger to the madness. As recent as 2007, his first year at the helm of the organization, he made an eleventh hour blockbuster move, sending prospects Robert Nilsson, Ryan O’Marra and a first round draft choice to the Edmonton Oilers, and reeling in one Ryan Smyth.
The trade put the Isles over the hump, leading to their first post-lockout playoff berth, clinching on the last day of the regular season.
However, that year was different, because New York was a team contending for a playoff spot, whereas the 2010-11 New York Islanders are…well, not.
The Isles are a rebuilding franchise, and Snow will not part with any of his young pieces (at least that’s how it appears on the surface), and would prefer to give playing time to the youthful core of talented players he has assembled thus far, as opposed to bringing in established veterans.
Snow has also made his biggest moves already, having dealt Dwayne Roloson to Tampa Bay, as well as moving James Wisniewski to the Montreal Canadiens.
For those of you who expect Garth to be super-active during tomorrow’s frenzy, I advise you to lower your expectations.
The Islanders may make a few minor moves, some tweaks here and there, but anything of the blockbuster variety is probably out of the question, especially because such a trade would likely have to include a talented young Islander such as Josh Bailey or even Blake Comeau.
Unless the Isles are getting back a bona-fide all-star, it would be incredibly foolish to part with those players. For more information on why doing so is not a smart idea, see Mike Milbury.
As far as the roster players who could be dealt by tomorrow’s trade barrier, I’d say defenseman Radek Martinek, who could be dealt as early as tonight, is the likeliest candidate. The Isles’ asking price is rumored to be a second round pick, but we’ll see if teams are willing to take a chance on the oft-injured blueliner.
Rob Schremp, who was being shopped but has now been waived, is not likely to be traded, because there’s simply no market for the shootout-only specialist.
There’s one more Islander who could find himself on a new team by day’s end, and that’s Zenon Konopka. I personally hope Snow makes the correct choice and keeps him in an Islander uniform. Zenon is perhaps the proudest ever to wear that jersey, and he’s become a vocal leader on this squad, and has also given 110 percent every time he’s stepped on the ice. He’s among the league leaders in face-off percentage, and has sole possession of first place in penalty minutes.
The Islanders will show up to trade deadline day, but that’s probably it. For the sake of the franchise’s future, perhaps that’s the best course of action.
Comments are welcome.