- Craig Custance
The trade deadline countdown is on, with more questions than ever on that topic as we near 3 p.m. ET on Wednesday. What are the Canucks going to get for Ryan Kesler? Do the Blackhawks need to answer the Blues? What’s the most pressing need for the Capitals? How aggressive should Detroit general manager Ken Holland be at the deadline? All this and more in this week’s special trade deadline edition mailbag. If you want to be featured in next week’s mailbag, send your questions, hockey ideas and observations in here.
Corey, Long Island
I go back and forth on Garth Snow because he’s a GM who has been asked to do a lot with very little. On the plus side, he’s helped stock the Islanders' system so that there is a strong pool of young talent. He’s deftly worked the waiver wire and the free-agent scrap heap for good values. The John Tavares contract is a great one for the Islanders. He’s had to do it all with a skeleton staff, because this just isn’t a team with a very large operating budget.
All that said, there’s been a definite blind spot in goal. The defense has also been a liability, but part of that is injuries. And, as you mentioned, the Vanek deal has been a train wreck. And it could end up being compounded if the Islanders keep this season’s (potential) lottery pick, send the 2015 first-rounder to the Sabres and then that one is in the lottery. Teams are sheltering those picks because of Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel -- the Islanders' struggles this season might remove that option for Snow. If ownership makes a change at GM, and it would be justified, it’d better come with a long look in the mirror, too.
As a realistic Islanders fan, what should I expect to see as a trade return for: Vanek, Andrew MacDonald, Evgeni Nabokov and Lubomir Visnovsky? Hopefully they get a goalie, maybe Frederik Andersen from Anaheim.
Brian G, Levittown, NY
I like it. Let’s stick with the Islanders for another moment, because they and the Sabres are among the most interesting teams this week. The return for Vanek will be significant, with a first-rounder, another draft pick and a solid prospect as the starting point. Snow should be targeting a first-round pick in the 2015 draft, too, considering he might be sending his to the Sabres.
MacDonald’s trade value went up the moment Dan Girardi signed his contract extension with the Rangers. The starting point will be a first-round pick for him, as well, which is a high price to pay for a defenseman with questionable puck possession numbers. He plays a ton for the Islanders, and is more suited as a No. 4 defenseman on a contender. There just aren’t a lot of top-four defensemen available, and that’s why I think the Islanders will do well there. Lubomir Visnovsky has a no-move contract and Evgeni Nabokov has little to no value, so there may not be much return there.
I’d like to see Snow take a shot at a goalie, if for no other reason than to get an up-close look at him the rest of the season. The one thing about the Islanders is that they do have good luck (Vanek aside) with trading for players and then extending their contracts. Much better than trying to sign them cold as unrestricted free agents. I don’t see the Ducks moving Andersen right now. Ultimately, the odd man out in Anaheim will be Viktor Fasth, who is injured. The Capitals are trying to move Michal Neuvirth, and Snow could do much worse than giving Neuvirth the opportunity he believes he hasn’t gotten in Washington.
A lot of teams are interested in Matt Moulson. What would it take for Don Maloney to bring him to the desert? And would Moulson want to come to Glendale? What are the chances he comes to Arizona? Not hopeful, but think Moulson would be a good fit with Coyotes.
Tim Richardson, Mesa, Ariz.
Moulson would be a nice fit but, with the Coyotes you still have to factor money into the equation.