In the Islanders first major move before the impending trade deadline, defenseman Andy Sutton has been traded to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for a second-round pick obtained from San Jose.

The 34-year old defenseman, had four goals and eight assists in 54 games this season for the Islanders and emerged as the team's most valuable commodity before the Olympic roster freeze. With his size (6-6, 245-pounds) and strong play this season, Sutton is a natural target for teams looking to shore up their defense heading into the post-season.

"We thank Andy Sutton for his time here," Islanders general manager Garth Snow told Newsday. " He's played really well for us, especially this year. He's gotten a few bad breaks regarding injuries [in the past] but he'll be missed not only on the ice but off the ice as well."

Snow said that despite unloading his veteran defenseman for a young asset in return and proving themselves to be sellers before the 3 p.m. cutoff Wednesday, the organization still believes they are in the playoff hunt.

"This by no means is an indication we can't win. Dustin Kohn will be in the lineup tonight. We're only six points out and this is a great opportunity for our young young players to fight for a last playoff spot."

Snow said he felt that the return--a second-round pick Ottawa had from San Jose--was fair in terms of the current going rate of a rental like Sutton.

"It's a fair price. That's what the market is for a player of this nature, especially in terms of what a defenseman was bringing back. It's a good move for our organization when you look at what the future bears. The play of Andrew MacDonald and Dustin Kohn and the health of Jack Hillen enabled us to make a move like this."

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Ottawa obtained the aforementioned second-round pick from San Jose along with Jonathan Cheechoo and Milan Michalek for Dany Heatley and a fifth-rounder back in September.

Sutton, who will turn 35 next week, has played in only four playoff games in his career. He'll likely get another chance at post-season play while with Ottawa, who are currently third in the Eastern Conference and first in the Northeast with 76 points.

NOTES: The Islanders also traded Bridgeport defenseman Brett Westgarth to San Jose for future considerations....Dustin Kohn has been recalled to replace Sutton in the lineup.