The New York Islanders acquired Thomas Vanek from the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday with the intention of bolstering their roster so the team could make back-to-back playoff appearances.
The Isles gave up top-six winger Matt Moulson, a first-round draft pick in 2014 and a 2015 second-round pick to acquire the 29-year-old forward, which is a high price to pay for an unrestricted free agent who could walk in the summer.
But if poor play, injuries or anything else results in New York going through a disappointing season, the Islanders can defer the first-round selection that was traded to Buffalo in this deal on one condition, per TSN.
TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun added Tuesday that if the 2014 first-round draft pick acquired by Buffalo in the deal ends up being a Top 10 selection in June, the Islanders would have the option to defer the pick to the 2015 draft.
The deferment option makes this trade a little less of a gamble from an Islanders perspective.
What are the chances that the Isles miss the playoffs this season and are in a position to get a top 10 pick? Right now, they are slim. New York currently sits in a second-place tie in the weak Metropolitan Division with 11 points, and the team has impressed with an offense that ranks eighth in scoring, the league’s second-best power play and an improved penalty kill with an 84.8 percent success rate.
As long as No. 1 center John Tavares stays healthy and starting goaltender Evgeni Nabokov provides consistency in net, the Islanders should make the playoffs and not receive a top 10 pick in June’s draft.