The trade deadline is seven days away and the Islanders will be busy -- just not quite yet.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported on Tuesday night that six teams have called Islanders GM Garth Snow about Thomas Vanek, with one team making a “serious offer” that was, obviously, rejected. McKenzie said there are a similar number of teams inquiring about Andrew MacDonald, with no offers made as of yet.
My indications are that, barring a “can’t refuse” offer from anyone in the next few days, Snow will take this as close to the 3 p.m. deadline on March 5 as possible to entice better offers for both Vanek and MacDonald.
Some might think that strategy could backfire. There’s the possibility that either player could get hurt, with the Isles playing three games in the next four days, or that a prospective buyer could get tired of waiting and jump at another player available.
But the Islanders feel they have two unique assets in this trade market: In Vanek, they have the most talented offensive player out there, beyond some of the other forwards rumored to be available (the Oilers’ Sam Gagner, the Sabres’ Matt Moulson, the Rangers’ Ryan Callahan and the Flames’ Mike Cammalleri). Vanek is viewed as an immediate difference-maker; we’ll see if there will be more than one or two clubs who will keep in the hunt for Vanek over the coming days.
MacDonald is even more unique: A minutes-eating defenseman whose small salary ($550,000) fits into any team’s cap structure. As games go on through the weekend, the number of suitors for MacDonald may go up.
The Islanders have no intention of moving goaltender Evgeni Nabokov. It’s hard to see a scenario where Snow would be swayed by an offer. No team is surrendering a first-round pick for Nabokov, so I imagine he’s staying put.
Not necessarily Islanders-related, but I’ve now heard from three different NHL people that Martin St. Louis did indeed request a trade last month. He has a full no-move clause, so he could pick his destination. That would seem to be the Rangers. St. Louis has an offseason home in Greenwich, Conn.
Have to see how that plays out and whether St. Louis ultimately getting to go to Sochi and win a gold medal has changed his feelings. But if this all stemmed from Steve Yzerman passing St. Louis over for the initial Team Canada roster, that may trump John Tavares’ season-ending injury as exhibit A for owners and GMs never wanting the NHL in the Olympics again.