It may not be the first trade of the season but so far it sure is the biggest!
According to multiple sources, including TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the New York Islanders have acquired Austrian forward Thomas Vanek from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for Matt Moulson, a first round pick in 2014 and a 2nd round pick in 2015.
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) October 28, 2013
Vanek, 29, was drafted fifth overall by the Sabres in 2003 out of the University of Minnesota. After two seasons with the Gophers, Vanek joined the Rochester Americans of the AHL (Buffalo’s farm club) and scored 68 points in 74 games his only season with the team. Vanek’s best season came in the 06-07 season when he registered 84 points (43 goals, 41 assists) and played all 82 games. During the NHL’s shortened Lockout Season last year, Vanek spent time with the Graz 99ers of the Austrian Hockey League before scoring 20 goals in 38 NHL games.
Moulson, also 29, was also drafted in 2003, however much further down than Vanek (263rd to be exact) by the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Mississauga, Ontario native signed with the Los Angeles Kings in 2006, was assigned to their AHL affiliate Manchester Monarchs, and worked his way up to the NHL before signing a one year deal with the Islanders in 2009. There, with John Tavares, Moulson emerged as one of the NHL’s premier goal scorers and was the first Islander since Zigmund Palffy to score three consecutive 30-goal seasons. Moulson is also the brother-in-law of former Stanley Cup Champion goaltender Jonathan Quick.
“We had opportunity to acquire an elite player and given where we we are right now (.500), you go for it.”
Islanders General Manager Garth Snow on acquiring Thomas Vanek
Both Vanek and Moulson are Unrestricted free agents on July 1st, and while there are no talks to resign either wingers by their respective teams, Vanek’s agent Stephen Bartlett had this to say:
“We’ll take it day by day and focus on the short term for now and see where we are at season’s end.”
With Vanek gone, speculations have surfaced going as far back as before last season’s trade deadline that goaltender “Captain America” Ryan Miller will also be on the move this season, however there is still no official word on whether or not that will happen as well, but with the way general manager Darcy Regier seems to be cleaning house, the rebuilding mode is now in full effect.