The New York Islanders have traded forward Michael Grabner to the Toronto Maple Leafs for 5 players Thursday. The Islanders will receive forwards Taylor Beck and Carter Verhaeghe, defensemen Matt Finn and Tom Nilsson, and goaltender Christopher Gibson.
General Manager Garth Snow claimed Grabner off waivers from the Florida Panthers at the start of the 2010-11 season. The 2006 first-round pick by the Vancouver Canucks finally lived up to his potential and scored 34 goals in his rookie season, garnering him a Calder Trophy nomination. Snow rewarded Grabner with a five-year, $15 million dollar contract. His production has steadily declined since that breakout rookie season. Grabner will be an unrestricted free agent after the season.
The former 30-goal scorer’s 2014-15 season was marred by injuries, playing just 34 games. Grabner underwent his second sports-hernia surgery early in the offseason. The Islanders were actively shopping the winger at the draft last month but there were no takers, largely due to his $5 million dollar salary and $3 million dollar cap hit. Grabner was set to enter Islanders training camp as the 13th forward on the depth chart.
Of the five players the Islanders acquired, only Taylor Beck has NHL experience. The 24-year-old had 8 goals and 8 assists in 62 games with the Nashville Predators last season. Beck was traded to the Maple Leafs in July.
The 20-year-old Verhaeghe had 33 goals and 82 points in 68 games with the Niagara IceDogs of the Ontario Hockey League last season. He is a teammate of Islanders 2014 first-round pick Joshua Ho-Sang.
The 22-year-old Gibson, went 24-17-3 with a 2.42 goals-against average and .921 save percentage in 45 games with the Toronto Marlies of the AHL.
The 22-year-old Nilsson had six points in 44 games with the Toronto Marlies. The 21-year-old Finn played 28 games with the Marlies and had a goal and 2 assists.
Isles didn't have room for Grabner in playoffs, owed him more than his cap hit (anti-Isles). Throw prospects at wall, see if 1 sticks thing?
— Justin Bourne (@jtbourne) September 17, 2015
The Islanders have signed forward Steve Bernier to a 1-year-deal worth $750,000. The 30-year-old was originally brought in on a professional tryout contract. Bernier scored a career-high 16 goals with the New Jersey Devils last season.
Noel Fogelman is a 5-time Emmy Winner and started his career working on the Buffalo Sabres Pre and postgame shows for the Empire Sports Network. He then went to Bristol, CT to work at ESPN on NHL2Night and its coverage of the Stanley Cup. Follow me on Twiter @thefirstnoel19