On Wednesday afternoon, the New York Islanders traded Thomas Vanek to the Montreal Canadiens. The trade was made just before the NHL trade deadline, and the Islanders received a prospect and a conditional draft pick in return, according to CBSSports.com. According to the same report, if Montreal makes the playoffs, the draft pick is a second-rounder; if they don’t make the playoffs, it’s a fifth-rounder.
Many people considered it to be an absolute disaster for the Islanders. The team acquired Vanek from the Buffalo Sabres at the end of October, sending back Matt Moulson, a 2014 first-round draft pick and a 2015 second-round draft pick, according to ESPN NY. So, the bottom line is they traded Moulson, a first-round draft pick and a second-round draft pick for a prospect and most-likely a second-round draft pick. That is an absolute disaster for the Islanders and GM Garth Snow.
It’s all a blessing in disguise though, because the Islanders have never had a better time to start over. They don’t even need to start over completely.
Here’s what the Islanders have already: a cornerstone player named John Tavares; a young head coach who can get the best out of his players named Jack Capuano; and two goalies in their early-20s who could be part of the franchise for many years to come, Kevin Poulin and Anders Nilsson.
Tavares has entered the conversation as one of the best players in the league, alongside Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby; Capuano stunned the world when he actually took this team to the playoffs last year; and while Nilsson hasn’t seen much NHL playing time, Poulin has shown that he can be more than serviceable when given the chance.
The Islanders now have a year and a half before they move to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. There’s no reason to start firing people right now, but once the season ends, all bets should be off. Snow should be the first to go. Owner Charles Wang needs to bring in an established GM and give him full autonomy. Frankly, the only person the team should be married to is Tavares, even Capuano should be on the hot seat.
The Islanders aren’t a team that needs to get money off the books, and they don’t have a lot of aging stars. The team isn’t dealing with any major headaches, but Snow isn’t capable of bringing this team to success. The right GM could make this team competitive by the time they’re playing in Brooklyn.
The trade deadline was a blessing in disguise for the Islanders, now they just need to realize it.