A lot of attention has been paid to the trade value of Thomas Vanek after he rejected a seven year, $50 million contract extension offer from the New York Islanders but his Islander, and Austrian Olympic teammate Michael Grabner has been doing a lot in Sochi to increase his value when the NHL returns after the Olympics are over.
It is no secret that Vanek will be dealt by the NHL’s trade deadline, but I doubt that he will be the only player the Islanders ship off for prospects in an attempt to continue what seems like their perennial rebuilding process. Grabner is a player that I think will be on the move as well.
After enjoying a very good first season for the Isles, one in which he scored 34 goals, he has failed to produce at that level ever since. Grabner has incredible speed and is a good penalty killer which is why I think that a contending team would be willing to part with a mid level prospect or middle round draft pick in order to acquire him, and given his production so far in the Olympics, a playoff team may think he has the make-up to be a contributor to their big games down the stretch and in the playoffs.
His production in Russia is well above his production on the the Island, though. He has 5 goals and 1 assist in his 3 games so far, but has only 9 goals and 11 assists for the Islanders in 56 games this year.
If the right offer were to come in to Isles GM Garth Snow for Grabs, and I don’t know what Snow’s asking price would be for the 26 year old, I don’t think he should hesitate to pull the trigger. Grabner has been a staple on the Islanders third line all season, a unit that has been terrible, to put it mildly, and with the team struggling and not in playoff contention they would be wise to move Grabner if he has any value at all.