Islanders’ GM Snow with Two Shrewd Pickups at NHL Trade Deadline
The Islanders faced three questions on trade deadline day. The first was what should they do with Johnny Boychuck who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer? The second was what should they do about the putrid penalty killing? Finally, what could be done about the backup goalie situation?
The Islanders addressed all three on Monday.
Credit GM Garth Snow who didn’t bow to public pressure and held onto Johnny Boychuck for the stretch run. He could have stood pat, but Snow didn’t rest on his laurels and instead added two very key pieces as the NHL trade deadline loomed.
His first acquisition was Michal Neuvirth a goaltender from the Buffalo Sabres. It’s no secret that the Sabres are looking to the draft this summer to augment its depleted lineup and a key to a better pick is losing games.
The Czech-born Neuvirth was making this process difficult for the Sabres as he played to a 2.99 goals against average and a .918 save percentage; both terrific numbers especially when you consider the porousness of the Sabres’ defense.
In contrast, the Islanders’ now former backup keeper Chad Johnson had stopped a paltry 87.3% of the shots he faced, and allowed 3.33 goals per game – both unacceptable numbers. The last straw for Johnson seemed to be surrendering five goals to the lowly Hurricanes on Saturday afternoon.
Johnson goes to the Sabres where he can get a chance to rediscover his craft, or at the very least, assist the Sabres quest for the number 1 draft position.
The second move was adding Tyler Kennedy who provides some grit, some possible help on the penalty kill and some leadership as a Stanley Cup champion with the San Jose Sharks.
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