Well, 3 PM has passed, and no one from another franchise is going to be wearing blue and orange tomorrow.
If the rumors are true, you have to give Garth Snow some credit. He tried desperately to pry Matt Duchene away from Colorado, to no avail. Rumor has it he offered two separate deals with exactly what Joe Sakic and the Avalanche were looking for. But, Sakic hesitated, and decided he wanted more. If what is being reported is correct, he wanted Michael Dal Colle, Mathew Barzal, and Ryan Pulock, in addition to possibly Brock Nelson. The Isles seemed willing to give him most of what he was asking for, but according to multiple sources, the demands kept changing, and what he originally asked for was not enough.
Duchene is an excellent hockey players, but the Islanders cannot mortgage their entire franchise for him. Bob McKenzie tweeted that Sakic would not budge on his demands, and he would wait til the offseason to deal Duchene if he had to. I could see them willing to offer Dal Colle, Pulock, and a pick..maybe even a first round pick. But, the Islanders need to keep some prospects in their system.
That being said, almost everyone the Isles are competing with for the second Wild Card got better today. The Panthers added former Islander Thomas Vanek. The Lightning added Mark Streit. The Senators added Viktor Stalberg, Jyrki Jokipakka, and Alex Burrows. The Maple Leafs added Brian Boyle, Eric Fehr, and Sergey Kalinin. The Flyers added Valteri Filppula. If the Canadiens happen to fall into the Wild Card race? They added a couple of pieces, and got bigger today.
The Islanders? They added Josh Ho-Sang from Bridgeport. Will this be a spark for a team that has been basically treading water since the All-Star break? That remains to be seen. The last time the Isles made a blockbuster move at the deadline was 10 years ago when they acquired Ryan Smyth. The Isles did make some October moves in the past few years; acquiring Johnny Boychuk, Nick Leddy, and even Thomas Vanek a few years ago. But, deadlines have been, well…dead.
It’s disappointing to see another deadline come and go, and see the Isles stand pat. But, the Islanders aren’t willing to mortgage the future, and they had no UFAs to deal. The rumored trades for Jaroslav Halak turned out to be just that as well…rumors.
So while everyone else in the division made a move, and most of the teams in the chase for that final Wild Card made a move, the Isles unfortunately came up short.
The question however remains, when is it time to go all in? When is it time to say ok, it’s time to cash in some of our chips and get better? They failed to do that at last year’s deadline. They failed to do that this summer, and now once again this deadline, they have failed to improve. Year after year we wait, seemingly on the sidelines, as the rest of the league makes moves. Keep in mind, I would not want to see the Islanders become the Rangers; trading away every pick for a mediocre rental who they will eventually deal away or let leave in free agency.
All in all, it was a trade deadline filled with minor moves. However, the only moving the Isles did today was getting to Dallas for tomorrow’s game.
Silver lining in the short term is that Dallas technically got worse. The Isles should not have an issue winning tomorrow night. What happens after that is anyone’s guess.