The trade deadline came and went. What seemed like a very boring trade deadline livened up a bit at the end, including a deal that saw Marian Gaborik moved from the Rangers to the Blue Jackets for Derrick Brassard, Derek Dorsett, and John Moore.
And, despite a few rumblings, the Islanders went off quietly on Wednesday afternoon. Sure, there was speculation that the Islanders were going after Brandon Saad (Chicago Blackhawks) and Keith Yandle (Phoenix Coyotes), but that was as much activity as the Islanders (and their fans) would get.
At the end of the day, the Garth and Co. did exactly what was speculated: “stand pat.” There were no trades on the Island. There were no severe over-payments for an average player (Nice job there, Washington). Some people are mad at the Islanders, continuing their “blame Snow for everything” mantra, but what was he to do? What move was he going to make?
Truth is, the only deal that made sense for the Islanders was a hockey deal. A rental for a rental. A player for a player. The deal wouldn’t be made for the sake of making a deal, but because it would make the team better.
At 5-2 over their last seven games (both losses to Pittsburgh), the Islanders have played themselves into a playoff spot. Garth saw no reason to disrupt the team’s chemistry, and honestly, there was no reason to, especially if a deal didn’t make sense.
Now, the Islanders go into their final eleven games with the roster they have, plus a little bit more help from within.
Reinforcements are on their way. We saw the beginning of it on Tuesday night against the Jets. Anders Lee, a college stand-out, was added to the roster, taking a valuable spot in the line-up often filled by Marty Reasoner.
Lee made his debut and scored his first goal of his pro-career. That one goal was as many goals as Marty Reasoner scored in his 91 games as a New York Islander. That one goal was exactly what the Islanders have been begging for from what Marty Reasoner, who hasn’t been able to get it going during his Isles career.
It’s an addition to this team, despite his rookie status. That addition may turn out to be extremely valuable to the Islanders, as Lee is expected to fill this spot for the remainder of the season.
Another important note: as the trade deadline passed, the amount of roster spots increased, allowing even more flexibility. The Islanders finally had the chance to activate Jesse Joensuu, who has been healthy and practicing with the team for almost one month.
Jesse was one of the leading scorers in the SM-liiga before he was injured while playing overseas during the lockout, and from the sound of it, has everything to prove and wants to prove it. Jesse has changed his game to fit the mold of Capuano’s Islanders, but hasn’t been able to crack the Islanders roster simply because there was not enough room for him on the roster.
Instead, the Islanders stuck with what they had. Marty Reasoner and Eric Boulton were getting ice time, and the Isles didn’t desire to lose them for nothing (i.e. waivers). They opted for more depth in the case of an injury, so Jesse had to wait.
Jesse Joensuu may get his shot soon, though. Perhaps he replaces Keith Aucoin on some nights. He’s a different kind of player – a banger with size and goal scoring ability – but that may be what the Islanders are looking for. With a spot on the roster, it’s now Jesse’s chance to stick.
Isles fans should also keep Brian Strait in mind. If you recall, Strait is still a part of this team after suffering a fractured ankle that was expected to keep him out 6-8 weeks. Currently, it’s the seventh week since Strait has been out.
With Strait’s impending return, the Islanders will potentially have their (arguably) best defensive-defenseman for a few games. Whether that means Matt Carkner sits, or Thomas Hickey finds some time in the pressbox, the return of Strait will give the Islanders a good defenseman that will give the Islanders more flexibility when making game-by-game lineup decisions.
In terms of all three of these guys, it should be noted that the Islanders could never have enough depth. As they continue their playoff-push, they could use as many NHL-ready bodies as possible. If someone goes down, they have back-up. If they make the playoffs, they gain a little bit of extra playoff experience (Brian Strait played a few games for the Penguins last season).
So no, the Islanders didn’t make a trade at the deadline, but they have several new (and old) faces headed to the current roster that are definitely capable of contributing in a positive way. Personally, I think the Islanders have done exactly what is best for this team now and in the long-term. The future remains fully intact, and the current roster has provided the Islanders with more choices than ever.
Now, it’s about the playoff push and evaluating the current roster as the team continues their push. Let’s go Islanders!
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Filed Under: New York Islanders
About the Author: Writes at Islanders Op-Timism. Islanders Season Ticket Holder who tends to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Hofstra Graduate currently working at Portnoy, Messinger, Pearl & Associates. I definitely want to end up working within the world of hockey. Blog: www.IslandersOptimism.com E-Mail: ChristopherTriantafilis@gmail.com Twitter: @ChrisTriants