You weren’t dreaming, Isles fans. Beloved forward Matt Moulson, a staple to our hearts since he joined the team in 2009, is no longer a member of the New York Islanders, and Thomas Vanek,is no longer a member of the Buffalo Sabres. The two impending unrestricted free agents were swapped on Sunday night in a blockbuster deal before the end of October.
It feels like something out of a video game. Perhaps it’s because the Islanders haven’t made a trade like this for years – the Ryan Smyth trade rings a bell, but that one was not even close, in terms of shock and value, to what we have on our hands right now.
Good deal? Bad deal? Nobody will know for sure until the smoke begins to settle. Vanek still needs to click with the Islanders, help them win games, and sign a contract extension before July 1st. For now, the Islanders have an elite player to play alongside Tavares for the first time in his career, so that should be celebrated.
Vanek will make his Islanders debut against the New York Rangers tomorrow. What better way to begin his Isles’ career?
In case you missed it:
Two Minutes for Tweeting:
- I would like to thank you, Matt Moulson. You have been a class-act since you arrived on Long Island four years ago. You have been a tremendous player on the ice, and a tremendous person off of it. A valuable member in our Long Island community. All the best to you, Matty. You will always be an Islander. Good luck to you. Hopefully, the stars align and we have you here again one day.
- The Isles paid a heavy price, but it was a price they could afford. Moulson and two picks are gone, but the Isles should have plenty in the pipeline to fill the voids. Oh, and Thomas Vanek.
- I mentioned it last week: Tavares was best for Moulson, but Moulson not necessarily best for Tavares. Many people think the Isles are getting “the same player,” but the Islanders are about to put an elite winger next to their elite centre. Vanek’s 70 points in Buffalo could mean 90 next to JT, and could also mean JT takes the next step. Offense is about to get crazy.
Around the NHL:
San Jose Sharks 5, Ottawa Senators 2: SJS (Hertl, Desjardins, Wingels, Sheppard, Pavelski); OTT (Karlsson, Methot); Alex Stalock made 38 saves in his first NHL start, earning his first victory since his debut on Feb. 1, 2011.
Tampa Bay Lightning 4, Florida Panthers 3 (SO): TBL (St. Louis, Stamkos, Gudas); FLA (Matthias, Bjugstad, Boyes); former Islanders forward Brad Boyes tied the game at 3 with his 5th goal of the season. TBL won the shootout 2-1 (Stamkos GWG).
Anaheim Ducks 4, Columbus Blue Jackets 3: ANA (Getzlaf, Holland, Etem, Perry); CBJ (Comeau, Anisimov (2); Corey Perry scored the go-ahead goal with 2:25 remaining, and Frederik Andersen improved to a perfect 3-0-0 record to start his NHL career.
Colorado Avalanche 3, Winnipeg Jets 2: COL (Duchene, Hejda, Stastny); WPG (Little, Wheeler); Colorado found two third period goals, including Paul Stastny’s game-winner with 5:28 remaining in the game.
Los Angeles Kings 2, Edmonton Oilers 1 (SO): LAK (Richards); EDM (Yakupov); The Kings took 48 shots on Richard Bachman, who made his Oilers debut in between the pipes.