With the trade deadline having passed yesterday, the Islanders were in an unfamiliar spot. They were looking to add to their team for a playoff push as they look to send the Nassau Coliseum off the right way instead of trading away players which had been customary for them the last few seasons. While they didn’t make any huge moves, they did make moves that will help the team down the stretch and hopefully in the playoffs as well.
To get things started, the Islanders acquired Tyler Kennedy from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a conditional draft pick. The Islanders will have to surrender either their 7th round pick this year or the Lightnings, unless they win the Stanley Cup and Kennedy plays in 50% of the games. If that were to occur, then the Islanders would need to surrender either their 2016 3rd round pick or Vancouver’s which they acquired earlier this season. In Kennedy the Islanders get a solid depth player that can help fill out the roster while some of the team returns from injuries. While his stats this season might not jump off the page, it has been reported that Kennedy never really found a role with San Jose since being traded there before last season. Kennedy is also familiar with the Islanders division having played many seasons with the Penguins. On top of the depth, Kennedy brings with him a ton of playoff experience as well. Kennedy has 27 points in 76 career playoff games. Additionally, he has a Stanley Cup on his resume from the 2009 Penguins. While the Islanders have added some experience to their roster with their moves over the last few months, it never hurts to add a little more, especially at such a low-cost.
The Islanders didn’t stop with Kennedy though as they also addressed another position that has been an issue for them this year, that being the backup goalie. They sent Chad Johnson and a third round pick in next years draft to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for goalie Michal Neuvirth. Johnson, who the Islanders signed to back up Jaroslav Halak on July 1st was never really ever able to find his game on Long Island. In Neuvirth, the Islanders get a goalie who has had a pretty great season considering the team playing in front of him. In 27 games for the Sabres this year, Neuvirth has a 2.99 GAA and a .918 save percentage. Neuvirth faced an average of 39 shots a game with the Sabres, a number that should drop pretty significantly while with the Islanders. That drop should help keep his numbers where he would like them as well.
Taking Care of the Minors
While that was all the Islanders did to address the NHL roster, that wasn’t the end of their day. They also sent minor league forward Cory Conacher to the Canucks in exchange for former Penguin farmhand Dustin Jeffrey. Also, minor league goalie David Leggio was sent to the Coyotes for minor league fighter Mark Louis. Leggio is best remembered for pushing the net off its moorings in a game earlier this year to avoid facing a 2 on 0.
How did they do?
While they didn’t make any deals that will make headlines tomorrow, I think the Islanders had a good day. Kennedy is an excellent low risk potentially moderate reward move. He also brings a lot of playoff experience which is very valuable for a team like the Islanders that isn’t as battle tested as some other eastern conference playoff teams. Meanwhile, Michal Neuvirth will be a huge upgrade over Chad Johnson. Instead of fans dreading the backup goalie starting, they will have nearly the same confidence in Neuvirth as they do when Halak is between the pipes. If you’re an Islander fan you have to be very pleased with what the team did today. Additionally, for Garth Snow, what a difference a year makes, from last years tire fire to being talked about potentially for GM of the year this season.
TSN: “Islanders are a tire fire.”
— Ted Starkey (@TedStarkey) March 5, 2014