Cast Away: Former Isles Contribute To New Teams In Playoffs

Although the New York Islanders missed the playoffs this season, many players that were dressed for the team and traded made significant contributions to their new team's post-season run to the Cup.

The first to have been traded was fan-favorite Matt Moulson. Dealt to the Buffalo Sabres in the controversial Thomas Vanek transaction, Moulson would eventually be moved to the Minnesota Wild. He scored 13 points in 20 games with the Wild, and Isles fans will remember his first goals with Minnesota very well - they both came against the Isles at Nassau Coliseum (Photo credit: bridgetds/Flickr).

The Wild would win a decisive game 7 against the Colorado Avalanche in their opening round before losing to the defending champs, the Chicago Blackhawks, in six games. In 10 games played, Moulson had 1 goal and 2 assists.

His former Islanders teammate, Nino Niederreiter, was also playing for the Wild. Although he did not dress for the Isles this season, Niederreiter had 3 goals and 3 assists in 13 playoff games.

The next Islanders skater to be traded was Peter Regin, who is currently residing with the Chicago Blackhawks and preparing for their Conference Finals match-up with the L.A. Kings. However, Regin has only dressed for two games with the Blackhawks this post-season and has gone pointless in both.

Andrew MacDonald, who had played defense for the Islanders over the course of six years, was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers and soon inked to a long-term six-year contract with his new team. He was a -3 in 19 games with the Flyers and supplied four apples from the blue line during the regular season.

During his team's seven game post-season bout with the New York Rangers, MacDonald scored 1 goal and 1 assist and was a -2. He was often partnered with former Islanders captain Mark Streit, who only had 3 points in 7 games with one more assist than A-Mac. It might be safe to say that the two draft picks that Garth Snow acquired for MacDonald might put this deal well in the Isles favor.

The last player that the Islanders traded this year was Thomas Vanek, who is the only significant member of the "Former Isles" squad that is still active in this year's playoffs (Michael Cummo Photography/Flickr).

Garth Snow was slammed hard by the media for not receiving a bigger package from the Montreal Canadiens when he dealt him for prospect Sebastian Collberg and a conditional second round pick (a pick that the Isles will receive in exchange for a fifth round pick since the Canadiens qualified for the playoffs). However, it was made public that Vanek, who was named captain of Team Austria during the Olympics for his veteran leadership, went out drinking with his team until 6 AM after defeating Norway. Their following game against Slovenia was a whopping 5-0 loss.

This knowledge may have potentially scared other GMs away from trading top-rated prospects and draft picks for Vanek. If he was willing to party and drink heavily in the middle of the most important games for his country, what's to say he wouldn't do the same before Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals for a team that is only renting him?

With that being said, Vanek has been a reliable forward for the Canadiens. In 11 games played he has scored 8 points, a total of 5 goals and 3 assists. At times he has been inconsistent, having been asked to step up by his head coach Michel Therrien after Game 1 against the Boston Bruins. But he has shown that he is willing and able to handle the pressure, responding with two goals in Game 2.

For Islanders fans, witnessing Vanek succeed to the Eastern Conference Finals is tough to swallow, as a second round pick and mid-level prospect are not equal to what the Habs are currently holding. But bad publicity can affect the market, and it certainly did at this year's deadline.

In the long run, this only strengthens the argument that if Garth Snow was willing to trade Matt Moulson, who was a dear friend of John Tavares as well as his line-mate, fan-favorite and consistent 30-goal scorer, it should not have been for Thomas Vanek.

Vanek will lead the Canadiens against the New York Rangers tomorrow afternoon.

-Rob McGowan

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