Blues now an unlikely Islanders' trade partner

Islanders left wing Thomas Vanek skates during the Islanders left wing Thomas Vanek skates during the first period against the Boston Bruins on Nov. 2, 2013. Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

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Things still were quiet on the Islanders' trade front a day after the dam burst, in a way, on the NHL trade market.

The Sabres sent goalie Ryan Miller and Steve Ott to the Blues for draft picks and players, including their No. 1 goaltender, Jaroslav Halak. Miller and Halak will be unrestricted free agents after the season and there were rumblings that the Sabres, who currently sit last in the NHL, will be looking to flip Halak elsewhere before Wednesday's 3 p.m. trade deadline.

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The only way this deal affected the Islanders likely was to remove the Blues as a possible suitor in the sweepstakes for Thomas Vanek or Andrew MacDonald. St. Louis sent its 2015 first-round pick and conditionally included its 2014 first-rounder. If the Blues reach the conference finals or sign Miller to a contract, they will send the pick to Buffalo.

That leaves the Blues without many assets to swap for Vanek or MacDonald, but several of their Western Conference brethren have inquired about both of the Islanders' trade chips. Reports had the Kings and Sharks inquiring about MacDonald, who took a hard but clean hit from Ryan Carter in the third period of Saturday's 6-1 loss to the Devils to perhaps make Garth Snow's heart skip a beat.

A half-dozen teams have asked Snow about Vanek, who has no goals and three assists in his last eight games.

The Islanders inquired about Miller last summer, but the goaltender had the Islanders on the list of eight teams to whom he would not accept a trade, so that was a non-starter. Snow will be in the market for a goaltender this offseason. Halak might have moved up the list now that he has been dealt and likely will head to July 1 and the open market.

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Sunday's game against the Panthers is the Isles' last at home before the trade deadline. The team heads off on a four-game western Canada swing Monday. Any trades likely will require call-ups from Bridgeport.

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