Trades aren’t top of mind right now. The New York Islanders have only played three games so far and hold a 2-1-0 record. While they could still use a top-six forward, one that shoots the puck and converts those shots to goals at a frequent rate, they’re winning. This piece isn’t about making a trade, but about looking back.
While we wait for the Islanders to hit the ice for game three on Thursday, I thought I’d take a look back at the Isles top three trades with the Blackhawks.
New York Islanders top trades with Chicago Blackhawks
In a single day in 2014, the Islanders reinvented their blue line. First, then GM Garth Snow acquired Johnny Boychuk from the Boston Bruins, and then he picked up puck-moving defenseman Nick Leddy from the Blackhawks.
To get Leddy from the cap-strapped Blackhawks, all the Islanders had to give up were a few prospects and the rights to a third. Not one of them skated a single game in the NHL for Chicago.
Meanwhile, Nick Leddy has been a key piece of the Islanders blueline since his acquisition. Through 465 games with the Isles Leddy had 214 points.
At the 2010 draft, Garth Snow already held the fifth overall pick that he used on forward Nino Niederreiter. But he wanted to stock up and advance his rebuild and sought to get another first-round pick. So he packaged two 2010 second-round picks (35th and 58th overall) in order to get the 30th overall pick from Chicago.
Snow used that pick on Brock Nelson while the Blackhawks drafted Ludvig Rensfeldt (35th overall) and Kent Simpson (58th overall).
Simpson was the only player to reach the NHL level with a single appearance on December 14 2013 where he allowed two goals against on seven shots in 20 minutes of play.
Nelson made the NHL by 2013-14 for the Islanders and has been a mainstay ever since. Unfortunately, it took Barry Trotz to bring out the best of Nelson, six years after Nelson made his NHL debut.
The Islanders gave up nothing to get a top-five second-line center in the NHL. Again, that’s a good trade. The only ‘L’ the Isles get here is not getting a proper coach to recognize Nelson’s true potential earlier.
Side note: The Isles would eventually get Kent Simpson back as part of the Nick Leddy trade.
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Sutter was an integral part of Islanders teams through the 80’s winning two cups in 82 and 83. Losing him wasn’t great, but you have to give to get. While Sutter was a good two-way center, clearly demonstrated by finishing top-five in Selke voting in his first two years in Chicago, the Islanders wanted more firepower upfront.
In 1990-91, the Isles were the worst offensive team with a league-low 223 goals-for. Getting Steve Thomas helped that. The UK born player hit the ground running with 70 points in 71 games during his first year with the Isles. By the time he was traded to the Devils in 1995, Thomas had scored 258 points in 275 career games for the Isles.
I won’t say the Islanders won the trade, but they got what they wanted from the trade which is all you can ask for when making a trade.