Islanders’ management sent a positive message to the locker room by acquiring two players at the trade deadline to strengthen the overall depth of the club.
The Islanders acquired Tyler Kennedy (San Jose) and Michal Neuvirth (Buffalo) without having to sacrifice any major pieces or draft picks moving forward. The Islanders parted with a conditional 7th rounder for Kennedy who proved to be a valuable commodity for the 2009-cup winning Pittsburgh Penguins.
From the Islanders press release, the condition is that San Jose will receive either the Islanders seventh round selection in the 2015 NHL Draft, or the Tampa Bay Lightning’s seventh round pick in 2015 (previously acquired by the Islanders). If the Islanders win the Stanley Cup and Kennedy plays in at least 50% of the games in the Final, the Islanders will instead trade the later pick of either their third round pick in 2016 or Vancouver’s third round pick (previously acquired) in the 2016 NHL Draft.
The Islanders also pulled the plug on underperforming backup goaltender Chad Johnson. After a rough outing against the Carolina Hurricanes on February 28th, the Islanders decided to upgrade the position. Neuvirth, a pending UFA could prove to be a valuable commodity down the stretch as the team attempts to rest Halak. Getting rid of Johnson’s two year contract will allow the team to pursue a more qualified backup if Neuvirth does not resign in the summer.
In an exclusive interview with Newsday’s Arthur Staple, Garth Snow said, “"We think we're a better team today than we were yesterday.”
Trade deadline day is always hectic for players on teams not in the playoff chase but Neuvirth found out about his trade in an unconventional way. In an interview with Sportsnet, Neuvirth said, "I was enjoying my sushi, and one of my teammates said, 'Look on the TV.'"
Later that day Neuvirth did an interview with TSN and said, “I feel like the Islanders have a really good team and want to go really far in playoffs.”
The Islanders have been one of the most consistent teams all season long and Snow wanted to make sure he didn’t upset the chemistry in the locker room. It was apparent that Snow did not have intention of trading important roster players and avoided disrupting a very tight knit group.
The Islanders now have their roster set as they prepare to go to battle for the Metropolitan Division crown and home ice advantage in the postseason. With roster limitations non-existent after the trade deadline, head coach Jack Capuano will have plenty of line up decisions to make especially when Casey Cizikas and Kyle Okposo return to the lineup.
By: Scott Charles
WLIE 540 AM SPORTSTALKNY Staff Writer
Islanders Insight Senior Editor
Follow us on Twitter @sportstalkny and @Scottmcharles
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