The news broke on Sunday evening, as the last few games finished up for Week Four, that we had a trade between two Eastern Conference teams.
The Buffalo Sabres sent forward Thomas Vanek to the New York Islanders for forward Matt Moulson, a 2014 1st round draft pick and a 2015 2nd round draft pick.
With the Sabres not getting off to a great start and some huge contracts concluding at season's end, the panic button was not far away from the General Manager, Darcy Regier, and he ended up pushing it. Vanek was on the final year of his current deal, which has an annual cap hit of $7.14 million, a deal that would have likely made Vanek into a rental player at the trade deadline. Instead, the Islanders will get a long look at Vanek, trying to encourage him to stay and play with some up and coming centres, like John Tavares.
Vanek is off to a good start to his 2014 season, scoring 4 goals and 5 assists in the first 13 games for the Sabres this year, which has him in the top 100 in pool scoring, as we finish up Week Four's action.
On the other hand, the Islanders are well-placed in the Eastern Conference playoff mix and I think they did a good job jumping on this deal to upgrade a scoring winger position. In Moulson, the Sabres are going to get a good complementary winger to a centre, possibly a guy like Cody Hodgson, but they are not giving up an independent goal-scorer, like they are acquiring in Vanek. The Islanders have all kinds of cap room, thanks to some budget management through the years and they will certainly welcome Vanek with open arms.
In only getting a complementary winger for a purebred goal scorer, the Sabres were also able to pick up two key draft picks over the next couple of seasons. The Islanders, if they are going to be making the playoffs, won't be giving up a high draft pick in the 1st round this Summer, but it is a 1st rounder, nonetheless. I believe this is good security, if Moulson doesn't pan out the way his numbers suggest.
In 11 games with the Islanders, Moulson has 6 goals and 3 assists, ranked just a bit higher than Vanek in the scoring race thus far, thanks to a better goal tally.
Two teams in the pool were directly impacted on the deal... Chris M. has Vanek going to Long Island, while Wes M. has Moulson going to Buffalo. Chris sits in 2nd with a couple games left to be played on Sunday night, while Wes is in 11th.
I believe the Islanders do get the best of this deal and I think this should do Chris a lot of good, while we'll play wait-and-see with Moulson in Buffalo. Wes is 16 points out of the prizing, at the time of posting this blog post, so we'll make a mental note to check back with this trade later on.