In a shocking turn of events, Garth Snow pulled off his most aggressive move since acquiring Ryan Smyth in 2007. The New York Islanders have acquired Thomas Vanek in exchange for fan-favorite Matt Moulson, as well as this years 1st round pick and next year's 2nd rounder.
Thomas Vanek had been a topic of discussion for Islander fans for a while now, as he had been made available by Buffalo ownership as a past of their rebuilding mentality. He was rumored to be heading towards Edmonton along with Ryan Miller in exchange for Nail Yakupov, but that deal never materialized. He now must pack his bags and head to Long Island.
Matt Moulson was a bit of a late bloomer who found his stride with the Islanders after not being able to hold down a spot with the Los Angeles Kings. He and John Tavares had a previous friendship which led the goalscorer to the Island where he quickly found a home. He was a perennial 30 goal scorer who started to develop strong assist totals after last years lockout shortened season. However, he was in the final year of his contract and after being rumored to be allowed to enter free agency, he was dealt along with two picks for the Austrian talent that is Thomas Vanek.
Vanek had spent the past couple years with the Buffalo Sabres and had also become a fan favorite in Buffalo. He's averaged about the same amount of points per season as Matt Moulson, however he's a much more talented player. Moulson is a great goal scorer, but Vanek is much closer to the full package. He's a better skater, puck handler, and passer than Moulson, which makes him much more valuable to a John Tavares who has so desperately needed a top flight talent on his wing. Now, we'll get to see how the two do together.
I had written previously about how the Islanders shouldn't be interested in either Vanek or Ryan Miller for several reasons, and my opinion remains unchanged. Yes, the addition makes the Islanders a much improved team moving forward, however Vanek is also an unrestricted free agent, with no reason to resign in the area. Vanek obviously has a lot of talent, however in making this trade Garth Snow effectively traded away his biggest trade assets while not improving the two biggest needs of the team- goaltending or defense. Time will tell if this turns out to be a good trade for both side, but for now I will reserve judgment until we at least see Vanek playing with the Islanders for a while, as well as the offseason.
How do you feel about the trade? Let me know in the comments, or tweet me @tartmaster or @first_tensports.