There weren’t any assets us use. There wasn’t any sense of urgency to deal.
Garth Snow, poker star.
In conversations prior to the deadline, the only expected moves would concern AHL players being shuffled, improving 6/7 D, and MAYBE a new backup goalie. Hmm. Not a bad guess.
First trade of the day saw the Islanders send a conditional 2015 3rd Round pick to San Jose for forward Tyler Kennedy. Many point to the struggling Penalty Kill as the impetus for the move, the greater issue is the short term, and medium term, health of Casey Cizikas and Mikhail Grabovski. Cizikas may join the team for the upcoming road trip but Grabovski is still out due to a head injury. As “fiesty” as Kennedy is on the third and fourth lines, and the PK, this doesn’t fix the special teams system. Worrisome move. Here are the conditions of the deal, as per the New York Islanders:
The New York Islanders have acquired forward Tyler Kennedy from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a conditional pick in the 2015 or 2016 NHL Draft. The condition is that San Jose will receive either the Islanders seventh round selection in the 2015 NHL Draft, or the Tampa Bay Lightning’s seventh round pick in 2015 (previously acquired by the Islanders). If the Islanders win the Stanley Cup and Kennedy plays in at least 50% of the games in the Final, the Islanders will instead trade the later pick of either their third round pick in 2016 or Vancouver’s third round pick (previously acquired) in the 2016 NHL Draft.
That…is absurdly confusing.
Another deal, and this could not have been more warmly received, was sending Chad Johnson and a real 2015 3rd Round pick to Buffalo for Michal Neuvirth. While his 2013-14 numbers were impressive the truth about Johnson came out quickly, he was a product of the Boston system. Thankfully it only took 2 years and a few dollars to bring him in. Neuvirth, on the other hand, had been steadily superb for the Sabres and therefore had to go. Buffalo is in full on TANK mode and his success was costing the team its future. Plus he’s a free agent this summer. Chad Johnson has another year of mediocrity ahead of him. A quick look at the number shows a gulf between the two (CJ 8-8-1, 3.08, .889; MN 6-17-3, 2.99, .918), especially considering the teams they were on. Johnson could barely contribute to a winning team, Neuvirth glistened while riding a TANK with an adjusted SV% just under .940. Yeah, this will work. If it doesn’t, Neuvirth isn’t as bad as Johnson.
Forward Cory Conacher to Vancouver for forward Dustin Jeffery, which fulfills the AHL deal….until David Leggio was traded to Arizona. Trade Poulin’s backup but not Poulin? OK, sure. Whatever. Sources tell me the return on Leggio is an assortment of muffins. As long as the basket has blueberry and corn varieties it’s a deal. Actually it’s minor league forward Mark Louis. Same difference.
Really, what stands out here is Snow’s ability to bounce back. Gambled on two free agents, lost in the short term, turned them into better pieces. That’s how you measure a General Manager, not just by the contracts he throws around. Number of contracts, value of contracts, neither of those are accurate measures of a GM. How you handle your situation is the only way. Garth won.
Peace be with the now former Islanders. Good luck.