While I can understand the frustration of the passionate fans of the Islanders, it appears that what Garth Snow was saying for his reasons of receiving such a low offer may have been justified. Let’s face it, the timing was horrible. The team was out of the playoffs, they loose their captain and star player in John Tavares for the rest of the season and because of what the Islanders gave up for Vanek, including the beloved Matt Moulson, there was an expectation (There’s that word again) of a prospect and a first rounder for Vanek. So when fans heard of the final return, the trade deadline was just the final dagger to a wretched season that cannot end soon enough.
Heading into the deadline, there were six players that were supposed to be moved: Ryan Kesler (Van), Vanek, Moulson (Buf), Ryan Callahan (Nyr), Marty St. Louis (TB) and Mike Cammallary (Cal). I had said in at least 2-3 tweets that in order for Vanek to get traded, Ryan Kesler should be the first one off the board. That was the biggest problem from the trade deadline. He never got moved. The first trade was Callahan and St. Louis swapping teams and Tampa picked up a first rounder in 2015. Ironically that was the only first rounder given up on the day. Heck, even Marion Gaborik got traded before Vanek & Kesler.
So let’s go over the teams that wanted Vanek in the first place: Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Anaheim, Minnesota and later in the day, Montreal. From what I’ve read, Pittsburgh and Anaheim were in on Kesler and they were trading away a first rounder & multiple players/prospects, but it’s been rumored that because of the earlier trading of Roberto Luongo, the Vancouver owners said no to dealing Kesler. That would’ve helped the Islanders a lot had they came out & said that a half hour earlier before 3pm. So it was only St. Louis and Kesler garnering any first round pick. That’s not good. In the meantime, Moulson essentially gets traded for a second rounder in 2014 (throw in a few players/picks for cap reasons), Pittsburgh gets no one on that list above (Lee Stepniak, Marcel Goc) for 2 3rd’s and a 5th, Los Angeles gets Marion Gaborik for Matt Frattin and a 2nd, possibly a 3rd rounder.
So now, the demand for Thomas Vanek isn’t even worth a first rounder and a prospect. Think about it, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, & Minnesota all found better deals than Thomas Vanek, and Anaheim basically said “No thank you.” Then here comes Montreal at say 2:55pm offering a “conditional” second round pick and Sebastian Collberg. What was Snow to do? He took what he could get with the remaining time he had. Now, there’s no question that this looks really bad on Snow. However, there’s another player that was supposed to get traded and that was Cammallary. Brian Burke said in his interview that players like Kesler and Vanek were not traded in enough time to make a deal with other teams for him.
I’ll take Burke at his word, the whole timing to this stinks and you can blame Vancouver for that, but when a Thomas Vanek is not sought out for a reasonable asking price, that’s more of a reflection on the player then it does the organization. There’s no doubt in my mind that Montreal gets the steal of the year, almost ranks as high as Snow’s acquisition of Ryan Smyth a few years back, but if Vanek performs as well as he did in the Olympics, then not only do the Islanders look smarter, but Vanek’s free agency experience will be one he’d like to soon forget. He’s not getting the bigger dollar signs, he may not get an offer from Minnesota to play, especially if Matt Moulson fits perfectly into their system and they prosper for less money. Teams may say his numbers are skewed because of his time with John Tavares and Kyle Okposo and not worth the asking price.
When it’s all said and done, this will come back to shoot Vanek in the foot, especially if he doesn’t deliver in the playoffs and I’m not talking playing only in the first round. He had probably received the best contract offered to him in his life by Garth Snow and he said no. It’s not a good sign for him when players like Kesler and St. Louis get offered first round picks while others find more affordable options. Islanders fans can still go after Snow all they want, but in the end, Moulson is not coming back anytime soon, the first line was better with Vanek and Vanek himself may come to realize that it’s not so green on the other side after all.
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