The New York Islanders announced two moves Thursday, and both will greatly impact the team’s immediate future.
The first was the decision to keep their first-round pick in the 2014 NHL draft and send their 2015 Round 1 selection to the Buffalo Sabres, which completes the Oct. 27 Thomas Vanek trade. As part of that deal, the Isles had to send their first-round pick in 2014 or 2015 to Buffalo.
Keeping this year’s selection is a bit of a gamble because the 2015 draft class is headlined by two potential franchise cornerstones in forward Connor McDavid and defenseman Jack Eichel. But the Islanders don’t expect to be in a position to select one of those players. After all, superstar center John Tavares will return from a season-ending injury suffered at the 2014 Winter Olympics, and the team’s goaltending should be much improved with the addition of veteran Jaroslav Halak.
Halak and the Islanders agreed to a four-year, $18 million deal Thursday, per TSN’s Bob McKenzie. In a recent trade with the Washington Capitals, New York acquired exclusive rights to negotiate with Halak — who was eligible for unrestricted free agency on July 1 — in exchange for a fourth-round pick in the upcoming draft.
The 28-year-old netminder went 29-13-7 with a 2.25 goals against average and a .921 save percentage for the Capitals and St. Louis Blues this past season.