Sun, Oct 27, 2013 at 11:13pm


The New York Islanders acquired winger Thomas Vanek and cash considerations from the Buffalo Sabres for winger Matt Moulson, a conditional first-round draft pick and a second-round draft pick in 2015.

What does it give the New York Islanders
To GM Garth Snow's credit, the Isles are a young team on the rise and have become so under his watch. That said, this package is a very hefty price to pay for a fairly expensive scorer who isn't a major upgrade in production over Moulson (if at all). Since the start of the 2009-10 season Vanek, 29, has 110 goals and 237 points… and Moulson, 29, has 118 goals and 223 points. Factor in that Vanek will now have the highest salary on his new team (over $7 million--which is about $4 million more than Moulson made) and that the Isles are losing two high draft picks here, and it's tough to love this deal for Long Island--especially since Vanek is set to become an unrestricted free agent after this season. The silver lining here is that the first rounder is at the Islanders' discretion, protected in 2014 if inside the top 10.

What does it give the Buffalo Sabres
This deal was a no-brainer for the bottom-dwelling Sabres, and they get a huge haul here for Vanek. Not only is Moulson not much of a downgrade at all from Vanek--a perennial 30-goal scorer, a proven vet, and a durable, dependable producer--he is also far less expensive (at roughly $4 million less in salary this season). Moreover, like Vanek, Moulson is set to become an unrestricted free agent after this season. Add in the two high picks Buffalo gets over the next two drafts, and the rebuilding Sabres make out like bandits here: it's a rare deal that saves a team millions (though they did have to retain some of Vanek's salary to complete the deal) and adds high picks, while keeping the current scoring production almost the same.

Fantasy impact
It will be interesting to see if Vanek gets a boost playing with superstar {P John Tavares}; he probably will see a minor one, although there will also probably be an adjustment period. Moulson will likely see a slight drop-off, for the opposite reason (i.e., he no longer gets to play with Tavares). Otherwise, it's hard to see any other player on either team seeing a significant change in fortunes, since Vanek and Moulson have produced such similar numbers over the past several seasons.

Player focus

New York Islanders

Thomas Vanek LW/RW

cash considerations

Buffalo Sabres

Matt Moulson LW/RW

a conditional first-round draft pick

a second-round draft pick in 2015