DALLAS — The Islanders made no moves at or before the trade deadline that passed on Wednesday, choosing to continue their playoff push with the team that enters Thursday’s game here against the Stars on a 14-6-2 run that’s brought them back from last place in the East to just outside of the playoff picture.
“We went down a couple avenues to see if there were hockey deals to be made but nothing really made sense,” general manager Garth Snow told Newsday. “We weren’t in the rental market because we like our guys better, the ones we have coming back from injury and Josh Ho-Sang, who we just called up. We’re going to go with what we have.”
Rental players were pretty much the only ones that moved on deadline day and it was a weak market even for those — former Islander Thomas Vanek went from the Red Wings to the Panthers for a third-round pick and Jarome Iginla waived his no-move clause to go from the Avalanche to the Kings for a fourth-rounder among the handful of deals.
The Islanders were after bigger fish, the likes of Avalanche center Matt Duchene or Lightning center Tyler Johnson. But the prices for such players were too rich for anyone’s liking and no players of consequence changed hands.
“Like a lot of teams, we had conversations and when it gets to the point where it doesn’t make sense anymore, you withdraw,” Snow said. “We went down a lot of different avenues but there wasn’t a fit.”
So the only change on Wednesday was the re-recall of Ho-Sang, the talented 20-year-old wing who will make his NHL debut here on Thursday after he was called up Tuesday, sent down prior to the Isles departing for Dallas to keep a roster spot open for a potential trade then called up again early Wednesday to practice with the team here.
Ho-Sang will likely play on the right side with Andrew Ladd and Brock Nelson on Thursday.
“We want Josh to build off what he’s done in Bridgeport,” Snow said of Ho-Sang, who was named AHL Rookie of the Month after posting five goals and 10 assists in February. “He’s an extremely gifted player who’s played well at the AHL level and he’s getting an opportunity here. We want him to embrace this opportunity and have an impact.”
The only player in the Islanders organization who could have been moved out on Wednesday was goaltender Jaroslav Halak, who has been buried in the AHL for the last two months. Despite rumors swirling outside the organization of interest in the veteran goaltender Snow said he had no discussions about moving Halak on Wednesday.
“Jaro’s gone down there with a great attitude, a great work ethic and he’s played well,” Snow said. “We lost [Christopher Gibson] for the year and it’s important to have depth at that position.”