Three years ago today the New York Islanders turned their franchise around with trade for two top-level defensemen. It was one of Garth Snow’s finest moments as a GM. Let’s remember how fantastic this was.
It was three years ago today that New York Islanders GM Garth Snow shocked Isles fans by making two big-time trades on the same day to address a big concern for the team. Defense. In two back-to-back trades, the former backup goaltender with few bright spots on his executive resume made a number of fans (at least temporarily).
On October 4th, 2014, the New York Islanders acquired Nick Leddy from the Chicago Blackhawks and Johnny Boychuk from the Boston Bruins. Bringing in two top pair defenders to an organization that desperately needed them.
The Islanders blue line before the trades boasted such players as Andrew MacDonald, Matt Carkner, Brian Strait, and youngsters Travis Hamonic, Calvin de Haan and Thomas Hickey. Their top scorer on the blue line that season was MacDonald with 24 points.
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The year before their arrival the Isles finished last in the Metropolitan division with a 34-37-11 record and a -42 goal differential. I shouldn’t have to tell you, but the New York Islanders were terrible before the arrival of the two. At least on defense. The Isles still had John Tavares, Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen putting up a combined 193 points in 2013-14.
Nick Leddy Trade
We already looked at this trade a few days ago after the Chicago Blackhawks waived Ville Pokka, the last remaining piece in the Blackhawks system. By that token alone the trade was a steal.
Yes. The Blackhawks needed to shed cap space, as they always do. But they also didn’t get anything usable back. The Islanders got a defensive quarterback that could break into the top tier of blueliners in the league. With the potential for increased production upfront and a better power play, there’s no reason to think Nick Leddy can’t get 50+ points this season.
Johnny Boychuk Trade
The Boston Bruins just weren’t ready to give Johnny Boychuk an extension to his expiring deal and thought it would be better to get something for him now rather than letting him walk in free agency.
It cost the Islanders a few picks, one of which turned into Brandon Carlo. A young D currently playing big minutes with Boston.
But with the extra minutes in New York, Boychuk hit new highs, scoring a career-high 35 points. Fifteen of those points came on the power play. His previous high in PPP is three. He quadrupled his power play totals with the Isles.
The New York Islanders missed the playoffs in 2013-14. But in 2014-15, after the acquisitions of both Boychuk and Leddy, they made up 22 points in the standings to hit 101 points on the season and get back to the playoffs. We hope that the two hit those strides again in 2017-18. But regardless, the trades to get them here were masterful by Snow. There’s no denying it.