So here we are, February 27th, and the trade-deadline has come and gone. The anticipation is over and we can freely analyze every move that was made, or not made. As always, there is much criticism on Long Island, including some radicals going as far as saying that Garth Snow should be fired and shipped off the Island immediately. Before I analyze the Islanders and why Garth Snow did what he did, let’s take a look at the big moves that happened, along with two minor trades that were measuring sticks for Garth Snows decision process. Upon looking at those minor moves, I will explain why Garth held on to Miroslav Satan and Ruslan Fedotenko. I will lastly explain the first deadline move, which was re-signing Mike Comrie. While we are looking at the moves that happened, please keep in mind, what would you do if you were Garth Snow?
To Dallas: Brad Richards and Johan Holmqvist
To Tampa Bay: Jussi Jokinen, Jeff Halpern, and Mike Smith.
-Tampa Bay is the clear winner here, in my opinion. Although Brad Richards brings in that versatile first line center that was needed in Dallas, he also brings along with him $7.8 Million in a salary cap-hit. Tampa Bay, on the other hand, gets three great players that can immediately jump into their roster and help make Tampa Bay a better team immediately, for a much lower cost individually than Richards. In my opinion, Dallas should have seen this as Tampa Bay trying to dump salary and tried to acquire Richards for much less than what they gave up. Now you tell me, would you have wanted Garth Snow to give up three roster players, and in our case one of them most likely would have had to be a young prospect, in order to land an under-achieving player with $7.8 Million in salary? Even if he is to put up phenomenal numbers in Dallas, I still feel that he would be tremendously over-priced. I certainly know that I would not want to make this trade.
To Pittsburgh: Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis
To Atlanta: Erik Christensen, Colby Armstrong, Angelo Esposito (2007 1st Rd Pick), and PIT 1st Round Pick in 2008.
-If any of you Islander fans felt the price we paid for Ryan Smyth was too great, behold the Pittsburgh-Atlanta deal. The Islanders gave up a first round pick and two un-proven 1st round picks who still aren’t living up to any expectations what-so-ever. This cost Pittsburgh two roster players who were receiving significant ice time and were helping the Penguins success all around, a first round pick from last year who is believed to have a very promising NHL career, and also Pittsburgh’s first round pick this year in what could be one of the most promising and deepest draft to happen in years. That was a very steep price to pay for a player who has in no way said they will re-sign. To take it one step further, if Hossa does resign in Pittsburgh, it is going to cost at least $6.5 - $7 Million per year for at least five to six years. Why is this significant? It is because Evgeni Malkin will soon be seeking a long-term, high priced contract as well. The Islander’s could not afford to send away their first round pick this year, let alone Tambellini, Nielsen, and/or Okposo, which would have definitely been the asking price. Snow would not do this and I am happy for that.
Now onto the minor deals to give you an idea of Garth’s Snow thought process:
To Washington: Sergei Fedorov
To Columbus: Ted Ruth
To Washington: Cristobal Huet
To Montreal: 2nd Round Draft Pick in 2008
-When I analyze both these moves carefully, I can see exactly what Garth Snow was thinking when he decided not to trade upcoming UFA’s Miroslav Satan and Ruslan Fedotenko. What gives Miroslav Satan or Ruslan Fedotenko any more trade value than Sergei Fedorov? Nothing, which is my point exactly and Garth Snow’s point as well. What about Cristobal Huet? An excellent, young, and promising goalie who easily should have been number 1 on the Canadiens depth chart in net as they went into the playoffs is now sitting in a crowded Washington crease and all Montreal has to show for it is Anaheim’s second-round pick in 2009’s draft (Previously acquired by the Capitals). First and foremost, from the business point of view, we know that the Islander’s are struggling to pass the Lighthouse Plan and the only way to keep any motion behind it is for the Islanders to keep winning, and for them to continue making the playoffs so that more revenue can be generated. By trading Ruslan Fedotenko and Miroslav Satan, we would have received a mid-level to low-tier prospect or a third-round draft pick at best. What good would a third-round draft pick do us this year when we are trying to make the playoffs? A late-third round draft pick wouldn’t reach the NHL level for at least another three to four years, if ever! Now I know some of the reader’s are saying what if we grab a mid-round steal? My response to that is what if we don't? Than we have another player who won’t crack the Islanders line-up maybe ever, and we still never made the playoffs back in 2008. In no way am I suggesting we are making it this year, I am just saying its better to try this year than not make it at all and get nothing good in return. As for Satan and Fedotenko’s play, we can hope that they both pick it up a little bit and maybe show some of them form we know they are capable of showing. I know it sounds farfetched, but one can hope to see a little improvement. We must also remember that the next 20+ games they play will affect the value of their next contract.
Now that I have looked at what we didn’t do, and why I personally felt it was well thought out, lets take a look at what Garth Snow did do on draft day.
To NYI: Ron Davison
To San Jose: 7th Round Pick in 2008
To NYI: 3rd Round Pick 08
To Anaheim: Marc-Andre Bergeron
To NYI: 6th Round Pick 08
To Minnesota: Chris Simon
-As we all know, Marc-Andre Bergeron was on his way out sooner rather than later. It was his time to go, and in my opinion, good riddance. Although his stats make him look like a power-play stud, we all know he is just a dud. His five-on-five play is atrocious, his vision for the game doesn’t exist, his passing his horrid, his slow decision-making process hurts us at least twice a week, and his size and strength are that of a college-level player at best. On Anaheim, however, he just adds to an extremely high-powered, offensive minded defense that will help Anaheim go far in the playoffs. To take it one step further, I could look like a seasoned-veteran playing next to Scott Niedermayer or Chris Pronger, but best of luck to him there. I will take that third-round pick for him and cross my fingers that Garth Snow’s scouting staff is strong enough to grab an alright player in the late third-round. Enter Ron Davison, and I know you are all saying who?!?! If you really want to know a little bit more about his size and toughness, log into YouTube and simply search his name and you will see he does know how to throw his body around. If you want to hear that he is a stay-at-home, conservative, and smart-playing defenseman, just ask any San Jose fan. The only reason he was moved from his 5-6 slot from San Jose was just because of the trade that brought Brian Campbell to San Jose. Many San Jose fans that I have seen discuss him say that they will miss him on the third pairing because he is a very sound defenseman. He is the type of player that I believe Islander fans will enjoy watching and have under-rated thus far. Good move by Garth Snow in my opinion. Now for Chris Simon, where to start with him? In his prime, he was a great enforcer who actually had a decent pair of hands and could throw punches around with the best. Obviously he has faded significantly and his on-ice problems just brought way to much luggage along with him when he entered back into the line-up. Although considered a great leader, it is good for him to go to a different team and get a new start. Islander fans would never forgive him for costing us that game vs. the Rangers last year when the Rangers scored on the ensuing five-minute major penalty. That game could have put us in 6th place and the Rangers in 8th, but that is the past. Goodbye and good luck Chris Simon, I hope you are a better person now.
Lastly, the re-signing of Mike Comrie to a one year deal worth $4 Million:
-Now I know some people were let down by Comrie only signing a one year deal to stay here on the Island. At $4 Million, I think it was a pretty fair deal when comparing it to other contracts that are being signed in the NHL. He has already openly stated as well that the one year deal gives both sides flexibility and it in no way means he is gone next year! Comrie is playing excellent hockey for a second-line center playing first-line minutes and with a team that simply can’t score. If you look at his stats, he is on pace to break his career-high of 60 points. When you look at an excellent second-line center in today’s NHL, you are looking for a playmaker who can play two-way hockey and put up around 60-70 points a season. He is just that, and that is why I consider him an integral part to this team in the upcoming years. At only 27 years of age, he has tremendous upside and even has told the press that he feels he is only going to get better. I agree with that entirely and I feel that that we will really see the emergence of Mike Comrie within the next two to three years. Not only will we see him emerge as a player, but also as a leader in the locker-room, hence the reason he is already wearing the A in the absence of Sillinger and Witt. In my personal opinion, it should be Garth Snow’s objective to not only get a first-line center and a true scorer for the top line, but to get a talented and high-powered winger for Mike Comrie to play with next year. I feel that by putting Mike Comrie as the second-line center with a great scorer that can keep up with his talent, we will really begin to see Mike Comrie flourish. If Garth Snow can get him that winger and they succeed, I would not mind signing Comrie to a 3 year extension worth $13 million. I know some will criticize his fancy passing and his fancy stick work; however, it is proof how dangerous he could be with a good goal-scorer who is on the same page with him. (For example – Daymond Langkow). I feel Mike Comrie is an integral part of this team and that as long as he wants to be here, we should keep him. Anyone who wants to remain an Islander and plays as well as he does should remain an Islander.
These are just my personal outlooks on the moves that were made by Garth Snow. I feel, all in all, that the Islanders have stuck to their promise in maintaining the young-guns that are coming up (Nielsen, Tambellini, Comeau and Okposo) and are no longer willing to trade away the young talent for a quick fix. I feel that this is truly the way to go about building a winner. Although some feel we should have made a big move, I stick by my idea that we obviously are not Cup contenders and therefore should not try to force this year to be the year. I feel that although we are not sellers, we are in no desperate need to be buyers either. Although Fedotenko and Satan will most likely walk come July 1st, it is not worth crying over. We should let them try to help us make the playoffs, and hopefully benefit from the extra revenue earned if we do. My next blog will be on what the Islanders need to assess in the offseason. I feel that the Islanders are slowly beginning to have the right core in place and the right mindset, and with the addition of a few key free agents, we could slowly be coming together as a winning team on Long Island. Once again these are just my personal opinions and I love to hear as many comments and questions as possible. Thanks for reading my blog and till next time, “We're All Islanders.”