WINNIPEG, Canada - The Islanders moved out one of their trade chips Tuesday afternoon, sending defenseman Andrew MacDonald to the Flyers for two draft picks.
Their bigger chip, Thomas Vanek, moved out of the lineup last night, taking a seat before the Islanders faced off against the Jets as general manager Garth Snow continued working to get the biggest return he could leading up to today's 3 p.m. deadline.
A group of elite of teams -- the Sharks, Kings, Ducks, Bruins and Penguins among them -- were in the hunt for Vanek as last night wore on and the Islanders played without two of their regulars.
MacDonald had logged 295 games with the Islanders over six seasons after working his way up from being an unheralded sixth-round pick who spent time in the ECHL, taking a very inexpensive contract (four years, $2.2 million total) while rounding into an NHL regular.
With that contract up this season, MacDonald was looking for a larger payday. He turned down a four-year, $16 million offer earlier this season and the team's disappointing results all but ensured yesterday's move.
The Flyers sent the Islanders a 2014 third-round pick, a 2015 second-round pick and a low-level prospect, Long Island native Matt Mangene, to add MacDonald to a Flyers team that sits second in the Metropolitan Division.
"Everyone was really looking forward to this season after the way we finished last year. But things didn't go the way we wanted and this seems to be a by-product of that," MacDonald told Newsday before he departed Winnipeg for Philadelphia, where he'll be reunited with Mark Streit. "It's kind of mixed emotions right now. I'm sad to leave but excited for what's coming next."
Vanek was still in limbo as the Islanders wrapped up their game with the Jets. The Islanders announced he would sit out roughly 90 minutes before the puck dropped, indicating that Snow might have been close to a deal.
But it looked more and more like Snow would be holding out until Wednesday to see what more he could get for Vanek, whose last game with the Islanders will end up being Sunday's 5-3 loss to the Panthers.
Vanek had two goals and an assist on Sunday, bringing his final total with the Islanders to 17 goals and 27 assists in 47 games.
But the Islanders went 19-28-5 (he missed five games with an injury) during Vanek's time on the Island and his rejection of a seven-year, $50 million contract in January set the stage for the deadline sweepstakes.
The Islanders were headed to Edmonton after last night's game.
And the Vanek mystery continued as the trade deadline loomed.