Isles Minus Rolston & Mottau But Otherwise Stay The Same - And That's Okay
Rick Nash won't be donning an Islanders jersey tomorrow night; the Islanders didn't get a first round pick for Evgeni Nabokov and/or P.A. Parenteau; Al Montoya will still be on the bench to back up the Islanders number one goaltender; and the defensive play of Mark Eaton, Milan Jurcina and Steve Staios will still be seen for the rest of the season.
Staios, despite popular reports from a fake twitter account, was not dealt to the Vancouver Canucks for a 6th round draft pick.
BUT Garth Snow did manage to rid his team of the putrid play of Brian Rolston and the defensive relapses of Mike Mottau. Both were sent packing to the Boston Bruins for a couple of prospects; Yanick Riendeau and Marc Cantin.
Riendeau is a 5'10", 178 pound right wing that has played 46 games over the past three seasons with the Providence Bruins of the AHL, scoring four goals and seven assists. Cantin is a 6'1", 192 pound defenseman who has split time between the ECHL and the Providence Bruins as well and appears to fit the mold of a rugged blue liner. (Photo Credit: Robert Kowal/Flickr)
Cantin, who appears to be the better of the two prospects, scored 41 points as a defenseman in 61 games with the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors of the OHL in 2010-2011. He hasn't put up any points with the Providence Bruins this year but has scored six points in 16 games with the ECHL Reading Royals.
At the end of the day, these are not two drop dead prospects that will have Islanders fans drooling all over the floor. Instead, they are two young players that still have potential to develop into something under the Islanders watch. That's a hell of a lot better than watching the play of aging veterans that did more harm than good to the Islanders each night.
Both Rolston and Mottau's removal will allow players like Casey Cizikas, David Ullstrom and even Aaron Ness, Calvin de Haan or Matt Donovan to get some ice time with the big club.
From what I have read on Twitter over the past few days, this is EXACTLY what Islanders fans wanted - the subtraction of some dead weight that will allow the chance for prospects to prove themselves for the rest of the season. The Islanders weren't sellers, nor were they buyers. Garth has stated in the past that he is a builder, and that's what he did.
Yet still Isles fans complain that Garth didn't get something out of Nabokov or Parenteau, who still could possibly walk this summer. It has been reported that Nabokov and the Islanders are working on a contract extension. Although he hasn't been signed yet, there is no immediate rush to have it done. July 1st is not tomorrow. (Photo Credit: bridgetds/Flickr)
The same goes for Parenteau, who has stated he wants to hold off contract talks until the season is over. He told me in the Islanders locker room that he expects this situation to work itself out. He enjoys playing here and is close with his teammates. He's more focused on making the playoffs and playing good hockey. Although I admit that Parenteau might be Snow's biggest challenge when it comes to locking up his core players, he does have plenty of cap room to make it happen.
I also have turned my head away from the possible "trade and sign" scenarios. Both Doug Weight and Keith Tkachuk were traded away from the St. Louis Blues at trade deadlines in the past and then re-signed with the Blues in their following off-seasons, but how many other times have you seen that happen? Not often. It's a risk not worth taking.
The Isles also have to stay above the cap floor, which they are very close to right now. It's simple numbers folks. The Islanders couldn't even be full on sellers if they wanted to shed every impending free agent they had.
Anyone who expected more fooled themselves; there weren't even significant rumors that indicated big deals were on the horizon. Anyone who is frustrated has legitimate reason. But the important part that has to be remembered from all of this is that Snow has done what he could and has been allowed to do at every deadline. The Islanders are eight points out of the final playoff spot in the East and continue to take two steps back every time they take one step forward. It would be unrealistic of Snow to buy a rental player when the Islanders could possibly miss the playoffs altogether.
Snow has said he wouldn't risk getting rid of his young core that he's built and he hasn't. He's always been open to getting rid of a few bad apples and has done just that. Free agency and contract negotiations with some current players will be his next challenge to steer the course one step further in 2013. And let's face it, this team saw limited change from last year and is the closest they have been to the playoffs since the rebuild began a few years ago.
Today may not have been a great day by some people's standards, but it was an okay one. And that's perfectly fine.