Vanek And Grabner Return To LI, But For How Long?

With Austria's most recent loss to the Slovenians, Thomas Vanek and Michael Grabner will both be returning to Long Island with their Olympic tours coming to an early end (Photo credit: Michael Cummo Photography/Flickr).

Grabner leaves the tournament second in scoring, only behind Team USA's Phil Kessel. Vanek finished with only one assist in the four games played as Team Austria's captain.

Now Vanek will focus on returning to a destination that he will likely only call his home for a short while longer. It was evident that Isles GM Garth Snow was looking to move the star forward before the NHL roster freeze. When NHL games resume, there will be only five days left for Snow to trade Vanek to a contending team looking to bolster their roster before the playoffs.

Many have speculated if Grabner's performance will possibly make him a valuable trade commodity. Grabner's production is likely due to the amount of open ice an Olympic sized rink provides its players as his speed carried him through his opponent's defense with ease. Although Grabner is famous for creating close to one breakaway per game, it is unlikely that NHL GM's are going to look at Grabner's Olympic stats and forget about his dismal numbers with the New York Islanders.

To the contrary, a solo assist in the Olympics will not dissuade NHL teams from making a move for Vanek, who has 40 points in 44 games played with the Islanders this season.

Prior to the Olympic break, it was announced that Vanek had rejected a substantial offer from the Islanders believed to be in the range of 7 years/$50 million.

Defenseman Andrew MacDonald will likely be on the move as well, having also rejected a 4 year/$16 million. It is rumored that MacDonald was looking for a deal around 5 years worth $5 million per year.

It appears that Snow is poised to make up for the assets he lost in the trade to acquire Vanek between these two players as he is likely to have at least one first round pick sent back his way, if not more.

With both players watching Olympic hockey from their living room couches, Snow has the ability to have a deal in place to ship both players off as soon as the freeze is lifted. However, he also has the option of holding on to both players until the March 5th deadline in hopes of striking a bigger deal with teams getting more desperate as the clock ticks down.

Teams that have apparently expressed interest in making a trade with the Islanders have reportedly been the Anaheim Ducks, Pittsburgh Penguins, Detroit Red Wings and Los Angeles Kings.

Rumors have also circulated that Snow may include other pieces along with Vanek in order to improve the stock coming back to the Island. The Fourth Period has suggested that MacDonald and Grabner could be packaged with Vanek in a deal with the L.A. Kings for Tyler Toffoli (LW), Jake Muzzin (D) and Alec Martinez (D). This would help improve the Islanders on defense and secondary scoring; two areas that have contributed to the Islanders lackluster season.

Yet one would have to think that the Islanders want a first round pick as well since they gave up one of theirs between this year and next year in order to acquire Vanek from the Buffalo Sabres.

Stay tuned after the Olympic break for more as this develops.

-Rob McGowan

F