The New York Islanders gave up Matt Moulson, a first-round pick, and a second-round selection in order to get Thomas Vanek back in October. Now that it seems unlikely that he’ll re-sign before the free agent period, he’s expected to be moved again.
Nothing has gone the way the Islanders planned, but at this point their best bet is just to cut their losses. In that regard, there is still hope.
The early word around the league is that the cost to snag Vanek would be a three-asset haul, whether those assets are first-round picks or prospects or a player. It could be any combination. And if one of the assets is high-end enough, perhaps a two-asset package could do it.
The Los Angeles Kings are believed to be among the teams interested in his services. They would certainly make sense given their offensive woes, although they might ultimately settle on a cheaper solution.
Whether or not the Islanders’ Vanek experiment is regarded as a major misstep will be judged on what return the Islanders can get for him compared to what they surrendered. Even still, Vanek has left the door open to the possibility of re-signing with the Islanders in the summer even if they trade him.
Of course, the persistent rumor is that he’s actually interested in playing with the Wild in 2014-15. Perhaps it will be sooner if the Wild pursue him at the deadline, but given their cap situation, it might be better for them to simply wait until the free agent period. That way they won’t have to meet the Islanders’ demands either.