Garth Snow Makes One Final Move Before Opening Night

Michael Grabner may not be the addition that most fans were expecting when injuries hit the New York Islanders line-up before opening night like a Dion Phaneuf hip-check, but he may turn out to be another successful move by the savvy GM.

Grabner is a former first round pick by the Vancouver Canucks, having been taken by them with the 14th selection in the 2006 entry draft. The speedy right winger recently turned 23 as of yesterday and has the potential to flourish in Scott Gordon's system.

Last year Grabner made his NHL debut with the Canucks and managed to play in 20 games, scoring 5 goals, 6 assists and 11 points. The organization decided to part ways with him after last season and he was invited to training camp by the Florida Panthers. However, he did not impress Panthers GM Dale Tallon enough to make the final cut. He was placed on waivers yesterday to be sent to their farm team had he not been claimed, but that's where Garth Snow stepped in.

If he doesn't work out as everyone hopes, he can just as easily be placed on waivers again for another team to take a chance on him or to be sent to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. It's a low-risk move, one that Garth has done before and seen work out in his benefit.

Last year Snow made a very similar move when he took Rob Schremp off of the Edmonton Oilers' hands. After working his way out of the press-box, Schremp quickly became a fan-favorite, especially in the shoot-outs where he really earned his place. However the young center will be out for the next 3-4 weeks with a back injury, joining Kyle Okposo and Mark Streit for the time being. This allows Grabner to get another opportunity to prove that he deserves to play for an NHL team.

If you would like to see more of my spin on the Islanders opening line-up for their first game of the season this Saturday vs. the Dallas Stars, head over to my latest post at The Hockey Writers:

It's finally October folks. Let's get ready for some hockey!

-Rob McGowan

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George Prax's picture

I honestly don't get how this kid didn't make either the Canucks or the Panthers (of all teams). I think Grabner is the real deal. I don't know what led to him getting put on waivers by the Panthers, frankly, I would have kept him just because of the Ballard deal, which is turning out to be a steal for the Canucks. 23 year old with 11 points in 20 NHL games and he doesn't make the team? Really? This has Rob Schremp written all over it for the isles, as you said, but even better. I think Grabner's going to fill in great from the injured players and he'll make both Tallon and Gillis regret that they gave up on him.

BTW, thoughts on the whole Nino/Cammalleri deal? I didn't like how the Isles were playing 2 games in 1 night, never heard of split squads in the NHL, especially only a week before the season starts...

Rob McGowan's picture

I thought that Cammalleri easily deserved that suspension. They were bumping each other, in a pre-season game no was entirely unnecessary for him to take a chop to his calf like that. Especially to an 18 yr old kid looking to start his career. It actually really disgusted me that his teammates said, "it was good to see some fire out of Cammy." I understand that they didn't want to say anything to offend a teammate...but still...

As far as the split squad games, I didn't like it either. Double the chance for injury. Schremp got hurt as a result and Nino could have been worse. I personally felt they weren't needed. Just stick to a regular pre-season schedule.

George Prax's picture

Well if you read my blog, I agree with you, Cammalleri was in the wrong and there's no excuse for swinging your stick around. But Nino did cheapshot him and I think there is some blame to cast towards the whole split squad situation as if there were more veterans in the line-up something like that could have been completely avoided, especially considering the line-up led to the blowout, where tensions and emotions are on the rise.

But like I said, both here and in my blog last week, no excuse. It could have maybe been avoided though.

Rob McGowan's picture

I see what you're saying but at the same time I could argue that regardless of who was in the line-up for the Isles, a vet like Cammy should still know better. But you do make a good point about how the score got run up against a team that obviously wasn't up to the same level, thus causing tensions to flare with players who aren't as matured as others.

George Prax's picture

Ya, definitely no excuse for Cammy, and I really want to make that clear. That being said, beat writer Dave Stubbs said on twitter that Cammy looked pretty upset in the pressbox last night:

Dave Stubbs on Twitter wrote:

Joked to Cammalleri on his way out of #Habs dressing room postgame: "Stay outta the press box!" and I pretty much got a snarl. There's more to that Quebec incident than anyone's saying. That Cammy, one of hockey's great talkers, would barely address the incident, and qualify his regret for it suggests Niederreiter might, repeat might, have said or done something that's entirely unacceptable. Not applying this directly to Cammy case, but "unacceptable" could be spitting, spearing, racist comment. Nothing excuses Cammy's stickwork, but it's possible what led to it was extraordinary. That said, since Cammy's not talking about it, it's left to speculation. Which doesn't help him.

Kelly Goosecock's picture

ee Karl + Chris Botta + Katie Strang = Rob McGowan's blog. Dude you pretty much copy and repeat what those three report/blog you might as well just put links to hockey buzz , islanderspointblank and newsday