Report: Islanders ‘Trying Hard’ To Deal Thomas Vanek Before NHL Trade Freeze

The New York Islanders are exploring the trade market to see what kind of return they can get for top-six winger Thomas Vanek, who last week turned down a contract extension from the team.

According to Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports, Islanders general manager Garth Snow is putting a lot of effort into moving Vanek before the pre-Olympic NHL trade freeze begins on Friday at 3 p.m. ET.

There are a few reasons why New York would want to trade Vanek before the Sochi Games. If he’s traded prior to Friday, the team won’t have to pay him any salary during the two-week Olympic break (he makes $6 million this season). Vanek is also going to the Olympics to represent Austria, and if the were to get hurt during the competition, his trade value would significantly diminish.

It’s been reported that Snow wants multiple assets in any trade involving Vanek. After all, he gave up a top-six winger in Matt Moulson and two draft picks (a 2014 first-round pick and a 2015 second-round pick) to acquire Vanek from the Buffalo Sabres earlier in the season.

But Snow’s ability to get quality assets in return for Vanek will be impacted by the veteran winger’s desire to test free agency for the first time in his career. Interested teams may be hesitant to part with talented young players, prospects and draft picks for a veteran they could sign in the summer as a free agent without giving up any assets.

Chris Botta of the Sports Business Journal has reported that Vanek is a “pure rental.”

There are a number of contending teams that need additional scoring depth for the end of the regular season and playoffs. That list includes the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, Detroit Red Wings and Minnesota Wild.

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