Can the Islanders Make a Play for Vanek and Miller?
A lot has been made of the rumors flying around lately about the Buffalo Sabres and Edmonton Oilers being involved in major trade talks. Essentially, the deal in place would send Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek to the Oilers for a package center pieced by 2012 first overall pick Nail Yakupov. A lot of Islander fans have been up in arms about this, arguing that Garth Snow should be kicking the tires for a similar deal to bring Miller and Vanek to the Island, which I completely understand. However, there are a few things to understand about both teams situations that will lead this to never working out this season.
First off, the pricetag to get the pair of Sabres is huge. Yakupov recently turned 20 years old and was the first overall pick not even two seasons ago. He carries a lot of trade value despite his slow start seeing as he was so highly touted. The Islanders do not have much of anything that matches that value, so in order to get to that point they'd have to put together a lot more players. Are you willing to give up Ryan Strome, Ryan Pulock, a draft pick and probably more to get these two? I didn't think so.
Another thing to remember is that Buffalo is preparing for a long rebuild so players such as Matt Moulson, Andrew MacDonald and others do not have much value to a team who is going to try and rebuild completely.
One more thing to consider is the fact that Miller and Vanek can both leave in free agency following the year. Say the Islanders do not reach the playoffs or are unspectacular in them. What is keeping these players here? They have no loyalty to the area and if the money isn't there, then why should they stay? Truthfully, I would carry no grudge against either if they sought greener pastures, as they're both nearing the final cycles of their careers and want to win soon.
Finally, the money issue. These players are owed a lot of money and pretty much whatever you're going to trade to get them will not match up, forcing the Islanders to take on a lot of money for the remainder of the season. The Islanders have not been a team known to go out and spend lots of money (or any, really) on players, especially if they don't have a guarantee that they will stay with the team long term.
Despite all this, there is the possibility that the team attempts to sign one or both players in free agency next year. While I wouldn't hold my breath, I could see that being a slight possibility. My best advice to my fellow Islander fans would be to look at players who aren't getting a lot of playing time and are log jammed behind other talented players. Those are the types that Garth can swing a cheap deal for.
Do you think the Islanders will remain the same or who do you see them attempting to acquire? Let me know in the comments, or tweet me @tartmaster.