New York Islanders: 10 Worst Trades In Franchise History

By Matt O'Leary
New York Islanders Zigmund Palffy #16 (Credit: Al Bello /Allsport)
New York Islanders Zigmund Palffy #16 (Credit: Al Bello /Allsport) /
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UNIONDALE, NY – NOVEMBER 23: Janne Niinimaa
UNIONDALE, NY – NOVEMBER 23: Janne Niinimaa /

This trade is less about what the Islanders gave up, and more about what they got back. They gave up one good NHL player in Raffi Torres (although a tad too physical) and an OK NHL player in Brad Isbister.

But what the Isles got back was a defenseman who was clearly a function of his surroundings that what he alone was bringing to the table.

The Islanders traded for Janne Niinimaa in 2003 to get an experienced defenseman that could put a few points up on the board. Afterall he’d had four seasons with 43 points or more.

Unfortunately, Niinimaa couldn’t replicate that success for the Isles. Over the course of three seasons on Long Island Finnish born defenders only produced 44 points. That’s across three seasons. Not in a single year.

The Islanders had to cut him lose three years later. They were able to trade him to Dallas in 2006 and return John Erskine and a second-round pick in that year’s draft. But that in no way repairs the damage of the trade.

We think of Raffi Torres now as a walking suspension. But the guy wasn’t a bad hockey player for while. In his first three full-seasons in the NHL, he put up 109 points in 244 games. Sure, he was insanely physical too. The two aspects combined would have been a welcomed addition to the Isles in the early 2000’s.