It was Christmas time for NY Islanders fans. Despite the fact they haven’t seen much of an NHL trade deadline gift in years, they sat by the tree, ripping through reams of wrapping paper… and then scratched their head as they saw Ottawa’s Shane Prince in the final minutes.
Then there was a great wail, as a thousand of vocal internet fans all screamed together as if they were just hit by a fully operational Death Star. I think every blogger, writer and fan all wanted something to help since this year has shown a flawed team. This said, this is also a far better situation than the wilting Isles were last 2nd half. The team, overall, has been rising since late January.
As many in the industry, including yours truly, warned… this trade deadline seemed a bit slow and static. Prices remained high. Above all, just as we spoke on the IslesBeat podcast… the NY Islanders were unwilling to spend on rentals when they were clearly not a cup or bust team. This proved correct when it came down to it, only willing to offer up a 3rd round pick for Ottawa’s young forward, Shane Prince. Ottawa seemed to come down from desiring a 2nd round pick. Instead, they gave the Islanders Prince and a 7th round pick for the 3rd. Not bad in value, even if it wasn’t what everyone seemed to have on their shortlist.
You might ask… “well what did the Islanders do all deadline”. The answer, if you have been following my blogs and our podcasts, is simple. They tried to make the team better in the more difficult, yet more important, longterm with salary for salary deals. I believe that centered around Travis Hamonic. Unfortunately, with many teams with their eyes on the prize, they are less worried about the descending cap ceiling just now. This will change come summertime. This is why we and others warned that it would likely mean that the big items and plans the Islanders want to do will have to wait until next season. Most likely the NHL Draft.
Of course, then most fans will assume that means the Islanders will be wanting to move Hamonic for their shortlist of overpriced forwards like Edmonton’s Eberle. I don’t think so. I might be the lone voice on this, but I will bet you your bottom dollar that the Islanders will still try to pivot an offensive defenseman from Travis Hamonic and his very cap friendly contract. This summer is when teams will start trying to veer away from the “It’s a trap!” force field of the lowering cap, and move talent to get themselves under. Mark my words: fans will like what this reaps.
Until then, we are left with what many feel is coal in our stockings from February 29th. Not true. I have spoken to quite a few on Shane Prince, besides retweeted some excellent articles from some very good Ottawa bloggers who are upset on him being moved. Shane Prince wasn’t handled properly by the Senators. The Isles recognize this and feel he will NOT ONLY provide versatility and depth for this season… there is UPSIDE. So let’s talk about that…
Shane Prince was 4th on the Senators in even strength points in 60 minutes. He did this with a bunch of table scrap 4th liners. Think on that a bit. This is like being 4th with Matt Martin and Taylor Beck as linemates.
An NHL source says it more bluntly:
“Anyone who thinks Prince is a bum or a minor leaguer, or even a Jon Sim, doesn’t know hockey. Period.”
The belief is that Shane Prince, who has been top 6 all throughout his AHL development, will become exactly that in Brooklyn. He is not a rental. He is not a depth-only dice roll (aka: last year’s Tyler Kennedy). He is someone that is considered a ‘gem in the rough’. Anyone who understands analytics just needs to look at his possession and scoring chances to see this.
In fact, while Islander fans were going “woe is me”, the smarter folks were looking deeply and discovering something else entirely. The Islanders just got a very good commodity.
— Sean Tierney (@SeanTierneyTSS) February 29, 2016
— Matt Cane (@Cane_Matt) February 29, 2016
— Reagan King (@ReaganKingIsles) February 29, 2016
Remember all those armchair Twitter and Facebook GM’s all calling for Boedker to be traded for by Garth Snow… so to play with John Tavares? I do.
Ok, so Prince isn’t a proven commodity like Andrew Ladd (who I said was never coming here), Parenteau (who despite the rumors was NEVER coming here) or even Jiri Hudler (that one hurt me too, btw. I liked him for 2nd and 4th picks… but remember: the Isles didn’t have a 2nd, folks). HOWEVER, unlike those older gentlemen who are in decline… Shane Prince is young, cheap and will only get better.
The Islanders did this deal for their longterm health, besides just this year. Prince only made $700k this season, and the Islanders are losing two top 6 free agents this summer. Be assured that there is an expectation that Shane Prince could fit that use. This means he was very much targeted, not just fell into the Isles laps at the last minute.
This is a good, young, hockey player who will only get better with more playing time and better line-mates. He is only 23 years old.
This trade will reap rewards, whether Islander fans are happy about the trade deadline or not. Period.
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