Category Archives: New York Islanders
The last stretch of the Islanders’ season isn’t just for evaluating the young players who have been rotating through the lineup.
Evgeni Nabokov, for example, isn’t signed for next season. He’s had two injuries, including a groin problem that cost him a month and left the Isles hanging during their ugly November and December.
But he showed on Sunday a little bit of why the Islanders might be interested in a fourth season employing the 38-year-old in a backup role next season.
It’s inevitable that by the March 5 trade deadline, general manager Garth Snow will trade Vanek, now even more so in the wake of star center John Tavares’ injury, sustained while playing for Team Canada en route to its gold medal. The Islanders are 12 points out of a playoff position with six teams to leapfrog as the final 22-game stretch begins on Thursday with the Maple Leafs at the Coliseum.
The impact on the Islanders is immediate. Any hopes of clawing back into the playoff race are shot. The Islanders entered the Olympic break 3-6-1 in their past 10 games, 12 points behind Detroit — a team that has played two fewer games — for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
The playoff hopes were probably toast regardless, but the Islanders started 2014 with eight wins in their first 10 games. They will also come out of the break with games against Toronto, New Jersey, Florida, Winnipeg and Edmonton, not exactly a murderer’s row. The trio of Thomas Vanek, Tavares and Kyle Okposo is as lethal a line as there is in the NHL. Only two other lines (the David Krejci and Jonathan Toews lines) have produced more than their 33 goals this season.
Now it’s likely that Okposo will be the only one of those three on the ice for the Islanders when New York plays the Oilers after the trade deadline on March 5.
If he wasn’t already, GM Garth Snow has to go into complete sell mode.
The offer was there, it was rejected, and now Andrew MacDonald has to start contemplating life in the NHL with a team other than the Islanders.
About a month and a half ago, the top-four defenseman turned down a four-year contract worth $16 million, The Post has learned. So now, as the Olympic roster freeze approaches on Friday at 3 p.m., and the March 5 trade deadline nears, Islanders general manager Garth Snow is set to deal MacDonald to the highest bidder.
Among the teams keeping tabs on the Vanek situation are the Los Angeles Kings, although a source Tuesday suggested he might not be their top target. My guess is that would be Matt Moulson, although as reported before, Sam Gagner and Mike Cammalleri are also options for L.A.