The New York Islanders acquired Tyler Kennedy at the NHL Trade Deadline. Where will he fit in down the stretch as we get closer to the playoffs?
The NHL Trade Deadline has come and gone and New York Islanders General Manager Garth Snow was much busier than most people had expected.
Snow made four total trades today, with two of them impacting the NHL roster. He improved the goaltending situation, trading current backup Chad Johnson and a third round pick for Buffalo Sabres starting netminder Michal Neuvirth. This was a fantastic move by Snow because Neuvirth has played very well behind a porous Buffalo team for the past few weeks and it will get Jaroslav Halak some time off down the stretch.
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But not to be forgotten was another trade that Garth Snow made today and that was the deal that sent a conditional draft pick to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for impending free agent Tyler Kennedy. It’s important to note that the conditional pick is a 2015 seventh rounder unless the Islanders win the Stanley Cup and Kennedy plays in at least 50% of the Final games, a situation in which that pick would become a 2016 third rounder. Now I don’t know about you, but if all of that were to happen I don’t think anyone is going to be concerned about that third round pick.
Kennedy was drafted in the fourth round by the Pittsburgh Penguins back in 2004. He is currently in his eighth NHL season, having spent the first six in Pittsburgh and the past season and a half with San Jose. This season with the Sharks he has recorded nine points (four goals and five assists) in 25 games. Kennedy’s career high in goals and points came back in 2010-11 where he posted 21 goals and 45 points with Pittsburgh.
On the surface, Kennedy’s numbers, especially in the regular season aren’t all that impressive but many times Kennedy’s impact is felt beyond your everyday boxscore. Kennedy has very impressive advanced stats, something which the Islanders value heavily. This season he was 7th on the Sharks with a CORSI of 51. Kennedy is the type of all situations bottom six forward that the Islanders were looking to acquire. With Mikhail Grabovski, Kyle Okposo and Casey Cizikas all out of the lineup right now, there is certainly room for him to step in and potentially make a big impact. But with Cizikas and Okposo expected to return fairly soon, Kennedy will need to impress to stay in the lineup and could potentially be Grabovski’s replacement should he miss extended time.
Another interesting note on Kennedy is he brings playoff experience and a Stanley Cup pedigree to the Isles locker room. Kennedy has played in 76 career playoff games and recorded 12 goals and 27 points in those games. He teams up with Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy as the only Islanders that have Stanley Cup experience, which will prove invaluable come April. He is the type of player that many teams value when the playoffs come around, as he can play on the penalty kill and brings a good combination of skill and grit to any teams bottom six.
With all of that having been said, it’s tough to call exactly where Kennedy will fit in for the Islanders down the stretch but in the immediate future he has a spot in the lineup. Whether or not he sees time in the playoffs solely depends on his performance as well as that of others down the stretch. This is an important move because should someone go down come playoffs, their replacement won’t be named Kael or Colin but rather a solid, two way bottom six NHL forward.
So on a day where the Islanders were supposed to be very quiet, they made some noise. Maybe not Keith Yandle or James Wisniewski type noise but Garth Snow made important additions to his hockey club without greatly disrupting the team’s chemistry or selling the farm for a rental. Overall the Islanders were winners on deadline day for now, although we won’t know the magnitude of these moves until all is said and done come (hopefully) June.
The newest Islanders will dress for the team tomorrow night as they take the ice in Dallas at 8:30. Stay tuned to Eyes On Isles for coverage of that one and more as the team continues on it’s journey to the playoffs.