Very quickly after the Islanders resolved the Brock Nelson contract situation, New York traded Michael Grabner to Toronto. Grabner was slated as the Islanders 13th forward heading into training camp. New York believe it or not received five players in return for Grabner, from the Leafs. New York received forwards Taylor Beck, Carter Verhaeghe, defensemen Matthew Finn, Tom Nilsson and goaltender Christopher Gibson. All five players New York received will start the season in the AHL for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. This deal gives the Islanders value in many different ways.
Salary Cap & Payroll Flexibility
Simply put there was no role for Grabner on this year’s Islanders team unless New York were to get decimated with injuries. Grabner was literally going to be an extra forward. He was on the last year of his five year deal. Grabner’s salary cap number for this season is $3 million, but his actual salary this season is $5 million. The Islanders gained great flexibility in both the salary cap and their payroll with this move. Cap Friendly has the Islanders with a little over $8 million in cap space after the Grabner trade and the recent signings of Brock Nelson and Steve Bernier.
No Grabner Means the Addition of Bernier
I was a bit surprised when the Devils parted ways with Bernier, especially considering how thin New Jersey is at forward. When the Islanders signed Bernier to a PTO contract I thought that was a very wise move. Bernier was a solid player for New Jersey last season producing 32 points with 16 goals in 67 games with a plus 2 rating. The trade of Grabner opened up a roster spot for New York. Immediately the Islanders inked Bernier to a 1 year deal at $750,000. Bernier and Kirill Petrov (3rd round pick from 2008 who has come over from the KHL) give New York excellent depth at the forward position in case of injury to any of their top four lines. Trading Grabner did not hurt the Islanders depth at the forward position.
Snow likes Bernier's versatility for a depth forward. If Grabner didn't have a set role, trading $5m salary for 750K as depth makes sense.
— Arthur Staple (@StapeAthletic) September 17, 2015
More Depth at Bridgeport
Finally this deal adds more depth for the Islanders for their AHL team the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The Islanders added four players between the ages of twenty and twenty two. All five players will continue to develop by getting regular minutes for the Sound Tigers. This deal gives much needed depth for the Islanders AHL affiliate. Do not be surprised to see one or two of these players help the Islanders during the course of the season in a complementary role. If injuries hit the Islanders they do have a number of players who can help them guide them during those rough patches.
— Andy Graziano (@AndyGraz_WFAN) September 17, 2015
This deal helps the Islanders in so many different ways and that is assuming that none of the five players they receive turn into anything. If just one of the players acquired from Toronto becomes a good player for New York in the future, that would make this deal for the Islanders go from really good to great.
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