Well the NHL trade deadline has come and gone and other than a very small deal with the Ottawa Senators (acquiring Shane Prince), Islanders general manger Garth Snow stood pat. Was this the right course of action for the New York Islanders?
Trade call is done: #Isles get F Shane Prince and a 2016 7th round pick for a 2016 3rd round pick.
— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) February 29, 2016
The Trade Market
Based on the players moved this past week as the league came upon the NHL trade deadline, it was clear that the market was very thin. The top players moved were Andrew Ladd to the Blackhawks, Eric Staal to the Rangers, Jiri Hudler to the Panthers and Mikkel Boedker to the Avalanche. All four players are unrestricted free agents at season’s end. However, can we call any of these players difference makers? A couple of years ago most certainly we would say that about Ladd and Eric Staal. But both players now have hit their thirties and their production is trending downwards. Snow, based on various reports, was in on Ladd and Boedker. But according to Arthur Staple of New York Newsday, the GM was not trading a top prospect or a 1st round pick in this year’s draft for a rental.
It was clear Snow needed to pick up a forward who can help with at least secondary scoring. While the Islanders have a talented group of forwards, their offense has been up and down this year. What is scary is the Islanders are 8th in the league with 2.78 goals scored per game. Shows you where the league is at in terms of goal scoring.
What has hurt the Isles scoring this year is the inconsistent play of Kyle Okposo, the poor year by veteran Mikhail Grabovski (9 goals) and the step back that talented youngsters Ryan Strome (7 goals) and Anders Lee (9 goals) have taken in their second full season. It was clear what Garth Snow needed to accomplish by 3PM, February 29th.
A team that is supposed to contend has done basically nothing two straight deadlines and an entire offseason in between. #Isles
— Jeff Capellini (@JCapWFAN) February 29, 2016
The Islanders have depth on the blue line and since the only defenseman available were depth D-men, there was no need to make a trade, in terms of defense. Ryan Pulock, one of the Islanders’ top prospects, as well as one of the top blue chip prospects in the league, had an impressive NHL debut in Edmonton. Pulock should get a chance to prove he deserves to be on the third pairing unit every game. But the Isles also have Marek Zidlicky, Brian Strait and youngsters Scott Mayfield and Adam Pelech (Isles are optimistic Pelech will return from his injury towards the end of the regular season). So the blue line didn’t need any tinkering, especially when you consider what defensemen were available.
What Snow Needed To Do
Granted, what Snow had to accomplish was a difficult task. Having said that, Snow had the assets to make a trade happen for a difference-making scoring forward, provided the party at the other end wasn’t totally unreasonable. Snow needed to find a way to land a scoring forward without trading Travis Hamonic.
Leading into this past weekend there were numerous rumors that the Montreal Canadiens would listen to offers on everybody on their roster except Carey Price and PK Subban. If this was true then Snow had to get aggressive and go after Max Pacioretty. Snow had to be smart but at the same time not take no for an answer. At the end of the day Snow should have made an aggressive push for Pacioretty, even if he paid 15 to 20 percent above market. A package of Strome, Michael Dal Colle (HockeysFuture.com has Dal Colle ranked as the 16th best prospect) and a 2017 second round pick would have been the right aggressive offer the Islanders GM should have made. Snow had to make an offer to Montreal where it would have been very difficult for the Habs to turn down the Isles.
In all fairness, maybe Snow did do this for Pacioretty or another forward of his ilk. Again, pulling off these kind of trades in today’s NHL landscape is very difficult. But remember, Snow had the assets to make such a deal a reality. If the Islanders want to take the next step in becoming a true Cup contending team, they needed to make aggressive moves. If the Islanders play another excellent first round series and lose like last year, their new owners (Scott Malkin and Jonathan Ledecky) might be shopping for a new GM come this spring.
Follow me on Twitter @TheNLKing