With two major moves made earlier this season, the Islanders stood pat during Monday's trade deadline. General Manager Garth Snow received interest on a handful of players, but wasn’t tempted by any offers that came his way.
"For me, with the way our team is playing, I'm comfortable keeping this group intact," said Snow, who traded veteran goaltender Dwayne Roloson in January and defenseman James Wisniewski in December.
As expected, both veteran defenseman Radek Martinek and fourth-line forward Zenon Konopka garnered interest from teams across the league. There were multiple suitors for Martinek and Konopka but none willing to part with a second-round pick, believed to be the asking price for both.
"We're not just trying to dump salary," Snow said. "Our deals came a couple of months ago when we were 20 points out the playoff picture. We made some changes to our roster, which has given some other players opportunities to get ice time."
Although rumors surfaced Monday morning that a deal sending Konopka to Anaheim was imminent, the discussions never moved past the preliminary stages. Snow could've likely parted with him for a lower-round pick, but likes Konopka's toughness and leadership skills. Those attributes that have made him a favorite in the Islanders dressing room and among the team's fan base.
Although Martinek's current lower-body injury was not said to be a major deterrent--the 34-yearold is expected to return within the week--his lengthy injury history was likely prohibitive to at least some teams.
With their position in the standings—14th in the Eastern Conference—the Islanders were clearly sellers, however, Snow said he also explored some opportunities to add salary. The options he pursued were not rentals but rather younger players that might fit into the team’s long term plans.
Although “none made sense” to acquire now, Snow said he's looking forward to a point when the team is in a position to add rather than subtract. Snow famously traded for Ryan Smyth at the deadline in February 2007.
"Yeah, that first year was fun," said Snow. "Whenever you start a rebuild, you know you are going to go through some rough patches. I'm still frustrated that we haven't seen our lineup as it was assembled this summer, because of the injuries to our blue line."
To sum up the day?
"We didn't just want to cut players loose. I like the group we have in that room now."