Monday, February 28, 2011

NHL Trade Deadline: New York Islanders Stand Pat As D-Day Comes and Goes

The NHL’s trade deadline passed with little fan-fare on Long Island, as the team decided not to make any moves prior to today’s 3 PM endpoint.

According to Isles GM Garth Snow, several teams called about obtaining a few players, including Radek Martinek and Zenon Konopka. Snow’s asking price for both was reportedly a second round pick.

The Islanders were very stubborn about lowering the price tag for Martinek and Konopka, and other teams decided that if they had to give up that much, there were better players on the trading block.

New York’s decision not to make any moves at the deadline was a smart one, because this team has been playing very well since the all-star break, and the players have really gelled with one another since that wild game against Pittsburgh a few weeks ago.

Radek Marinek and Zenon Konopka are both UFA’s in July, but there’s a very strong possibility that the Isles will look to re-sign both for next season.

Credit Garth Snow for having the guts not to cave in to other teams’ demands, and for keeping this Islander team together.

In addition to the chemistry aspect, keeping both Konopka and Martinek makes sense from a hockey standpoint as well. New York’s defense simply is not better without Radek Martinek, and that has shown over the last few games, as the Isles have struggled to maintain leads and hold opposing teams at bay without him in the lineup.

Konopka also helps this team, because aside from being a vocal leader, the guy plays hard every shift, wins key face offs and sticks up for his teammates whenever the situation requires it. Not to mention, the fans absolutely love Zenon, because he loves them right back, and is one of the few players in recent memory that is actually proud to be an Islander.

Zenon has been the most outspoken and committed player to wear the Isles' crest in ages.

There were rumors aplenty that suggested Konopka had been dealt to Anaheim for a second-round pick, as if such a deal were actually realistic. Had the Isles pulled that one off, it would have been the steal of the day, no doubt.

The biggest story of the day was Rob Schremp being claimed off waivers by the Atlanta Thrashers.

As was pointed out to me, for the second straight time, Schremp will not be able to wear No. 44 because Freddy Meyer does this time for Atlanta, which is exactly what happened last season when both were on the Isles.

The only area in which New York actually may miss Rob is in the shootout, where he's been one of the more consistent participants of recent memory, a career 8-for-15 in the skills competition.

Otherwise, Schremp was very inconsistent and was a healthy scratch several times this year.

No matter which way you look at it, Garth Snow’s best move today was his decision not to make any.

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