High-scoring winger Thomas Vanek hasn’t ruled out playing for the New York Islanders after this season.
But Vanek has virtually ruled out signing a contract extension to stay where he is. He could be the star of the 2014 free agent class and he wants to play that out.
Choosing his destination means more to him at this point of his career than getting every last dollar at this point.
So the reeling Islanders need to get as much as possible for Vanek in a bailout trade. Remember, general manager Garth Snow sent winger Matt Moulson (another pending free agent) plus a first-round draft pick in 2014 and a second-rounder in 2015 to Buffalo for Vanek.
That was a massive gamble that failed. The Islanders will miss the playoffs again.
If Snow moves Vanek before the trade deadline, he should be able to recoup a first-round pick and a couple of younger players.
But he would have been much better off keeping his two high draft picks and Moulson. In that scenario, he could have moved Moulson for a draft pick plus prospects before the trade deadline and set himself up for a huge 2014 NHL Draft.
As it stands today, it appears the Islanders will lose ground with this Vanek gambit. This blunder explains why the Islanders are the Islanders -- failing to become relevant while playing in the country’s biggest metropolitan area.