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Isles seem likely to deal Sutton by deadline

Steve Downie #9 of the Tampa Bay Lightning

Steve Downie #9 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates against Andy Sutton #25 of the New York Islanders on February 13, 2010 at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) Photo Credit: Getty/Jim McIsaac

With Wednesday's trade deadline rapidly approaching and no new deal on the table, it seems unlikely that Andy Sutton will remain with the Islanders.

Although general manager Garth Snow has had discussions with Sutton's agent, Pat Morris, in the past week, the Islanders have not extended an offer or expressed interest in re-signing the 35-year-old defenseman.

Sutton is the Islanders' most valuable commodity as the trade deadline nears. With playoff-bound teams looking to bolster their blue line, it's likely that Sutton will be traded.

"At this point, it's totally up to management," he said yesterday. "It's a business decision and they've got to do what they think is best. For me, I'm just trying to do the best I can to help the team."

According to a source, several teams already have expressed significant interest in Sutton, who likely could yield a second-round draft pick as a rental.

Given his size (6-6, 245 pounds) and physical play, Sutton will be targeted by teams trying to add edge to their lineup heading into the last six weeks of the season and postseason.

In the last year of his three-year, $9-million contract, Sutton has four goals and eight assists in 54 games and ranks third on the team in total ice time.

With the Islanders currently 13th in the Eastern Conference and facing a daunting schedule, it is reasonable to assume the organization will be sellers at the deadline and stick to its philosophy of rebuilding by stockpiling assets.

When asked about Sutton's status, Snow declined to discuss the situation publicly.

Despite the uncertainty regarding his immediate future, Sutton said he's trying to avoid the distraction.

"Anything at this point is all speculation," he said. "I've just got to focus on what is concrete, the here and now, and that is that we are six points out of the eighth playoff spot and we need to make a push these next 20 games."


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