Islanders GM Garth Snow pulled off a last-minute deal before Monday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline, acquiring forward Shane Prince from the Senators in exchange for the Isles’ third round pick in the 2016 entry draft. Ottawa will also send the Isles its seventh round pick in this year’s draft.
For the Islanders, Prince figures to help rejuvenate an offense that has grown stagnant in the past few games. The 23-year-old doesn’t arrive with eye-popping stats – just the opposite, in fact, with three goals and 12 points through 42 games – but reports suggest he’s long on talent.
Both an accomplished passer and scorer, Prince is an all-around talent in the offensive end with the speed to get back to his own zone and make a difference on the backcheck. His good hockey sense and nose for the net make him a dangerous presence on every shift. He has all of the tools to become an accomplished top-six winger in the NHL.
Meanwhile, Elite Prospects notes that Prince can play both wing and center, adding some versatility to the Isles’ top-nine forwards.
At 5’10, 185 pounds, Prince is small for the average NHL player. But if there’s one thing this Isles team doesn’t lack, especially up front, it’s size. Perhaps another elusive, fleet-footed forward is just what the team needs.
In Ottawa, Prince was a strong possession player, posting a 52.96 Corsi-For at even strength while starting less than half his shifts in the offensive zone. The Islanders, meanwhile, have been a mediocre possession team all season long, so Prince figures to give them a boost in this department.
After the Islanders’ 3-1 loss Sunday night in Edmonton, their second consecutive struggle against a defensively inept team, coach Jack Capuano said, “If we’re not getting secondary scoring, we’re not winning many games.” Less than 24 hours later, it appears Snow took the comment to heart.
Does Prince suddenly make the Isles a legitimate Cup contender? No. Very few players have that kind of value.
But he increases their depth up front and adds a new look to their offense at a very small cost. A third-round pick is anything but guaranteed, and Prince, having played 40-plus NHL games, is already worth more than the average third-round product.
He’s set to become a restricted free agent this summer and the Islanders may simply let him walk, but look at it this way: it’s highly unlikely that third-round pick would have amounted to anything more than Shane Prince. If he sticks around long-term and becomes a key piece for the Isles, Snow will have extracted terrific value from a mid-round draft pick.
That’s all speculation, of course, and this deal seems to have been made with the present in mind. Prince was acquired because Snow believes he can help the Islanders right now. By all accounts, he certainly has the tools for the job.
Will Burchfield covers all things ‘New York Islanders’ for thehockeywriters.com. A 2014 graduate of Boston College, he has extensive writing experience both online and in print.