Moulson and Vanek Are Not The Answer
Heading into the Islanders' final season at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, they have many holes to fill, but an over paid winger that doesn't play both ways is not something they should be in the market for.
Garth Snow and company began the offseason with a bang last week by signing Jaroslav Halak to a very manageable 4 year contract that only has a $4.5 million cap hit per year. Being that Halak is one of four goalies, with a minimum of 100 starts over the past 3 seasons, in the entire league to post a 2.15 GAA and .920 SV% or better (per Pete Jensen NHL.com) his contract truly is a steal.
Stabilizing the goaltender void was the biggest obstacle for the front office this summer and they seemed to have passed that test, at least on paper. They pulled this move off in an unorthodox fashion and this is how I feel they will need to complete their next hurdle, acquiring a top tier defenseman. I am not sure what the general manager can do, but he must be creative just like with the Halak deal, because the free agent blue liners aren't the best.
"Sometimes the best move is the move you don't make", a cliche that the Islanders must abide by when it comes to former Isles' Matt Moulson and Thomas Vanek. Even though both players had tremendous success with the team and great relationships throughout the lockerroom, their asking price will be too much for the Islanders blood.
Moulson and Vanek are two of the most talented free agents on the market and either could fit in easily with John Tavares and Kyle Okposo on the top line, but both are 30 years old and both do not do enough on both ends of the ice to warrant a 5-plus year deal worth over $5 million per year (and that's on the low side of what they will be asking for).
If either winger would be willing to take a "hometown discount" then there should be a conversation, but that seems very unlikely after the events of last season. Moulson took the mid season trade to Buffalo, for Vanek, very personally and made comments shortly after saying that "clearly they[the Islanders front office] don't want me here". Vanek, on the other hand, was offered a mega 7 year $50 million dollar deal by the Islanders before this years trade deadline which he declined. After Vanek's putrid time in Montreal-especially in the playoffs-it seems like turning down that offer was a huge mistake and even though Snow loves his game he may shy away from offering a marginal big game player another monster deal.
The Islanders must grow the young talented forwards they currently have on the roster including Brock Nelson, Ryan Strome, and Anders Lee, along with the defensive gems who are coming on fast, like Griffin Reinhart. Let these prospects develop on the NHL level and pour money into players that play a complete game.