On the NHL’s trade deadline on Wednesday, the New York Islanders traded forward Thomas Vanek to the Montreal Canadiens for prospect Sebastien Collberg and Montreal’s 2nd-round draft pick in the 2014 NHL Draft (the Islanders will send their 5th-round pick back to Montreal if the Canadiens make the playoffs). The trade left many Islanders fans understandably upset. They felt as though the return should’ve been more than a prospect and a draft pick, which it should have. A source within the Islanders organization has told me why Thomas Vanek was sent to Montreal and why the return was so low.
During the morning on Wednesday, Islanders general manager Garth Snow was diligently working the phones, trying to get the best return possible for Vanek. Snow held out trading Vanek so he could send him to Los Angeles to essentially get the deal the Columbus Blue Jackets received for Marian Gaborik , which was forward Matt Frattin, a 2nd-round draft pick, and a conditional 3rd-round draft pick. When Gaborik came into the picture and the Los Angeles-Columbus deal was finalized, Snow was left with no backup plan and started to scramble to see what he could get for Vanek.
At 2:30 in the afternoon, Islanders employees were sent away from the Islanders offices for a two-hour lunch, presumably because Snow knew he was in a bad predicament and didn’t want many people around when the Vanek deal went down. The Islanders-Canadiens deal was agreed upon by Snow and Montreal general manager Marc Bergevin within the final two minutes or so of the 3:00 pm deadline. Credit should be given to Bergevin for holding out until the last possible moment to drive down Vanek’s trade value. When Snow held his press conference on Wednesday, he had one Islanders employee present and a select few members of the media. A logical reason that could be derived from this was because he knew he made a bad deal and didn’t want to catch the blacklash from reporters asking why such a bad deal was made to begin with. The Canadiens were at the right place at the right time and got Vanek for next to nothing.
After so many misfires from the Islanders organization during Snow’s tenure as a general manager, this may go down as his biggest blunder yet.