With the Islanders once again currently sitting in 13th place in the East, I'm sure Garth Snow is contemplating the best approach on what to do with the Islanders at the deadline. The Isles are only five points away from the playoffs, but also only 4 points away from finishing last in the East.
Five points is not the most difficult task, but with five games remaining until D-Day, and the strong, recent play of struggling forwards Hunter, Fedotenko, and Comrie, I'm sure Garth Snow is weighing his options.
It's almost certain from every perspective that the Islanders will be sellers this deadline. Even when Greg Logan of Newsday interviewed Snow a few days ago, his demeanor was quite different than last year's.
"There hasn't been much movement at all in the league," Snow said of the pre-deadline maneuvering. "Everybody is surprised. But if we have a chance to improve - not only for this year but for the future - we're going to do it."
Before this statement, Snow was quoted saying that the team's goal is to not only make the playoffs, but to win the division. I would be surprised if he said otherwise. However Logan placed strong emphasis how this time Snow was not quick to say that we will be buyers at the deadline as he did last year, and this time the word "future" found a way into his answer.
It's possible that this team may make a strong playoff push, but with a different roster. For example, look at the Hurricanes. They gave up Cory Stillman and Mike Commodore for Patrick Eaves and Joe Corvo and are still managing to place themselves atop their division for third in the East. The Thrashers sit right behind them tied in points, with the Capitals a win behind both clubs, providing an entertaining finish to decide the division champs. The Thrashers future will most likely be decided with the movement of Marian Hossa. He's recently announced that he sees his chances re-signing with the club as "very slim," most likely giving the Thrashers organization the incentive to part ways.
The fact of the matter is these teams mentioned may be sellers at the deadline while still fighting for a playoff appearance. With the Islanders five points out, players like Comrie, Fedotenko, Satan, Berard, and so on, may be easily traded in order to do exactly what Snow said, "improve - not only this year but for the future."
Or we may see Snow only trade a player like Comrie or Satan, whose market value is apparently high right now with several teams rumored to be interested in both players. Comrie has made it clear that he wants to stay with the team, admitting he's felt comfortable with the coaching staff, Long Island, and desires to remain part of the core of this club - regardless if we are going through a rebuilding phase. That means alot coming from Comrie, especially since he's had difficulties establishing himself in this league after his contract incident with the Oilers.
When Satan was questioned, he wasn't as eager to respond. He didn't say that he wanted to leave, but he didn't say he wanted to stay either. All he had to say was that there was nothing to report at that time. It makes you wonder if the team has already approached him about being traded.
Trading both players may be the right move for the future if we bring in a 1st round pick and a prospect. Or we may see a young and upcoming player make his way onto our roster, and possibly see Snow sign Comrie in the off-season. If you ask me, trading Comrie for a young forward or d-man and re-signing him in the off-season would be a brilliant move by Garth Snow that could do exactly what he said, "improve - not only this year but for the future."
Fedotenko has picked himself up from his slump and has been playing possibly his best hockey as of late. The reason why Fedotenko was signed was mostly for his playoff performances of the past with the Tampa Bay Lightning, and with him hot at the moment it may force Snow to keep him around as an insurance policy if this team does scramble into the playoffs. Or it could mean we may see a good return for Tank's recent progress at the deadline.
There are too many what-if's at the moment, and it makes you wonder what Snow and the organization may be thinking. With five games to go, we'll know sooner rather than later.