Islanders Fail To Make Needed Splash At Trade Deadline


This winter, the word snow has not been a popular one around these parts. I imagine that did not improve today, no matter what the weather forecast is.

Today, we found out how dangerous the NHL hype machine can be. All these rumors have been going around about what Garth Snow could acquire for UFA Forward Thomas Vanek. What he got back was not remotely close to what was originally being bandied about.

The Isles sent Vanek to the Montreal Canadiens for a conditional 2nd round draft pick in this year’s draft and RW prospect Sebastian Collberg. Plain and simple the Isles got less than what they should have.  At least it looks that way for now.

We will start with Sebatian Collberg.

Collberg is a 21-year-old Swedish prospect who was selected in the 2nd round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, 33rd overall. He’s 5’11”, 180 lbs.

From Elite Prospects:

"Collberg is very skilled forward with great wheels. Doesn’t shy away from the high-traffic areas and knows where to go to score goals. Initiates contact with defensemen and has excellent one-on-one moves. Possesses an elite wrist shot, which he can release in a hurry with great accuracy and velocity. Needs to add more bulk to withstand the physical game at the men’s level. Lacks ideal frame and defensive play needs improvement."

He appears to be a mediocre prospect who will probably never see any time on Long Island. I could be wrong, and hope I am, but only time will tell. gave his chances of success in the NHL a D. That is far from promising.

Let’s consider what Snow gave up for Vanek to begin with. He traded a conditional 1st round pick, a 2nd round pick and Matt Moulson. He got back way WAY less than he paid.

Ryan Callahan, who could not tie the skates of Thomas Vanek, fetched Martin St. Louis. Garth Snow got a pick and Sebastian Collberg.

Sebastian Collberg.

Now, hey he could turn into the next Martin St. Louis for all we know, but as of now, he’s just a name on a sheet of paper, and he’s just another under 6′ guy who doesn’t even play in North America. That however, is the nature of the beast. You cannot win every trade; nor can you lose every trade. At some point soon, the pendulum will swing in the Isles favor; just not this season. Vanek had to be dealt, and the Isles did get something back, which is better than letting him walk; something he surely would have done.

Snow called acquiring Collberg, reportedly  the 4th best prospect in the Habs’ system, the best offer they received by far and said he “felt fortunate” to make the deal. Apparently the Isles scouts loved Collberg. We shall certainly see if we are right to be skeptical at this point.

After last season’s 1st round playoff defeat, it was clear the Islanders had 2 glaring needs; upgrade a porous defense and find a #1 goaltender. The Isles got neither in the offseason. The season failed accordingly.

The Isles then had the chance to upgrade at the trade deadline and address those glaring needs from a point of strength. Instead, they got a couple of picks and a RW prospect.

Sure, the Isles have some prospects on D that could/should pan out over the next couple of years. But, at this point? Who knows? Why not acquire more defense?

One thing I do know, Evgeni Nabokov was not the answer this year, and most of us have said that from the beginning. But, you know who else wasn’t the answer? Kevin Poulin and Anders Nilsson. Both, although young, have proven to be unreliable to say the least.

There were 8 or 9 goalies traded in the last few days. The Islanders were not in on a single one of them. Jaroslav Halak, Roberto Luongo, Ryan Miller, Devan Dubnyk, the list goes on and on. Starting in net for the Islanders is still Evgeni Nabokov.

The Isles got badly raked over the coals by TSN. At one point during their Deadline Day coverage, an analyst called the organization a “tire fire”. . Now, of course that was before the Vanek deal was announced, but pretty sure they still think that’s the case.

The Isles have been trying hard to change the prevailing attitude about the club. Today didn’t help.

The lack of excitement fans have about coach Jack Capuano, especially after the Isles suffered a long November losing streak to effectively end their season, is definitely an issue.

As far as the GM and the owner go, we just don’t know. I know bashing them is a popular thing to do. But let’s think this out. Do we know the real issue? Is it Garth Snow not knowing what he is doing? Is it Charles Wang pulling the strings and telling Snow yes or no? Is he running the team on a shoestring budget?  Is it this management by committee thing we heard so much about?  Could Garth Snow just not find a deal he liked and was forced to take what he can get?  Does he really, truly love Collberg? We really have no idea what actually goes on behind the scenes.  We hear lots of stories, but what is true and what is false, we likely won’t ever really know.

Hindsight is 20/20. If Garth Snow could foresee what would happen this season, he surely would not have made the Moulson move. As it stands however, I still think the move was a correct one.

You can criticize Garth all you want, and I have done the same plenty of times. But, he does try to do what he can to make the team better. In his eyes, Vanek was that kind of move, so he went for it. It failed. It happens. Not every move is going to work out. Keep in mind, he also rescued Matt Moulson, Michael Grabner and P.A. Parenteau off the scrap heap. If you’re going to criticize him for this, at least think about what it took to acquire Moulson in the first place.

The bottom line here is that this really has been another disappointment in a long line of disappointments for Islanders fans.  Vanek should have brought back a decent sized haul. Unfortunately, it appears he did not.  But, in the end, we are just fans. As much as we want things to be fixed, we have no idea what really happens in that front office, nor do we have any idea how things will turn out. Garth Snow is there to do a job to the best of his ability.  He gets paid to do this, and we have to just hope our voices are heard. I am sure he knows fans are unhappy. We were unhappy before this deal and we are just as, if not more, unhappy now. It’s his duty to prove us wrong. Let’s see if he does.

This season has about a month left and we must keep supporting the Islanders through thick and thin-even if times are dangerously thin.

Free agency begins in under 4 months. You never know what can happen then. Spring is a time for new beginning and hope. Let’s try to move past this and look forward to bright days!