The New York Islanders were a team that I believed was playoff bound before today. After picking up Johnny Boychuk for the Bruins and Nick Leddy from the Blackhawks does anybody doubt their playoff potential anymore? In one day Garth Snow changed what was his team's biggest weakness into what could be considered a strength. Sure he doesn't have any picks in the first two rounds of this upcoming draft due to the Vanek trade and now the Boychuk trade, but does it matter if he is fielding a high quality product on the ice? Here are the two trades which were broke by Arthur Staple:
The Islanders have taken advantage of two really good teams and their struggles to be cap compliant this year. Both Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy were positive contributors on teams that are concerned favorites for the Stanley Cup. What makes these moves even better for New York is the fact that both of these players play in different roles. Let's take a look:
Nick Leddy was a player on the Blackhawks that was put in advantageous situations offensively and he produced. Leddy is skilled with the puck and can make plays. The fact that he has a blue bubble is impressive because it shows relative to his teammates he was a really good possession player. Those teammates made up the second best possession team in the NHL last season. Leddy wasn't just a passenger along for the ride. He was able to contribute. Johnny Boychuck is used in a more defensive role:
Boychuck played some harder than average minutes and did a good job with them.
Much like Leddy, Boychuk played on a really good possession team so having a blue bubble is an impressive feat.
In a year the Islanders went from parading out the possessionally challenged Andy MacDonald on a regular basis to now having some a solid grouping of defensemen.
If you had any doubts about the Islanders making the playoffs this year, you can erase them now. Sorry Buffalo, no extra lottery pick for you.
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