The Mike Comrie Debate: To Trade or Not to Trade

Justin MarqCorrespondent IJanuary 13, 2009

If consistency were not a word in the English language, Mike Comrie would be considered a great player.

Consistency is something that Comrie fails to achieve, as he can have stretches of all-star quality play, and then revert down to a sub-par third-liner for a stretch of games.

Now that the Islanders, specifically GM Garth Snow, have decided to stick with the very well-known plan (rebuilding through drafts, the passing of the Lighthouse Plan, and the sprinkling in of proper free agents), the question arises of whether Mike Comrie will still be around next year.

At just 28 years old, Comrie is still very young and just about entering his prime as a player. The injuries that plagued him from the end of last season to the beginning of this season may have had some side effects on his play from the start. However, he seems to be coming out of that funk, performing decently as of late and increasing his trade value to any playoff teams.

When he recorded a team-high 49 points in the 2007-2008 season for the Islanders, Snow chose to resign him for one more season at $4 million. I personally feel he was overpaid, however, he fit into our salary without any problems.

This season, Comrie only has 13 points in a total of 25 games played—not a stellar season, but as I said, it took him a while to find his form after being out of the game for nearly five months.

With the trade deadline nearing, and with Comrie’s stock increasing as he continues to flourish on a line with youngsters Kyle Okposo and Blake Comeau, Snow is faced with a big decision: to trade or not to trade Comrie.

My opinion, you ask? Trade him! We already have two promising centers locked up for next year in Joshua Bailey and Frans Nielsen. While Bailey is expected to be a decent first-line center, but a great second-line center, and Nielsen is expected to be a decent second-line center but a great third-line center, the question still arises who will play first-line center for the future?

Comrie is not the answer in this situation. He reaches his development ceiling as a good second-line center, but not a great one. Although only 28 years old, Comrie gets pushed out of the second-line center role by youngsters such as the aforementioned Bailey and Nielsen.

One answer as to who could fill that first-line center void for the future and someone who could come as a gift-wrapped present for the Islanders this June would be John Tavares. The one problem with this is that you cannot build a team in hopes that you land the first overall pick, or that the first overall pick will truly be a savior.

This leads me back to the Doug Weight debate! This is yet another reason why the Islanders should hold onto Doug Weight, as I mentioned in my previously written article.

Although they are rebuilding with youth, Weight (38 years old) far outweighs Comrie as the better option for the Islanders next year as a first-line center if they fail to land either Tavares or Duchene.

Weight is respected league-wide as a classy player and one that has accomplished much in his time in the league. With his tremendous wealth of knowledge and experience, Weight would be a great mentor yet again for the likes of Bailey, Nielsen, and possibly either Tavares or Duchene.

The other question that arises in this debate is what kind of return the Islanders could see for a player like Comrie. This question depends on a few factors. First, and foremost, is the team that the Islanders are negotiating with.

If the Isles are talking to Detroit (obviously, Detroit does not need Comrie, just using them as an example), they will get very little as Detroit is stocked with talent and just needs a small extra piece. However, if the Isles are talking to fringe playoff teams such as Los Angeles and Columbus, they might receive a little bit more.

A second factor is how well Comrie is playing at the time. Currently, he is playing very well with Okposo and Comeau, and this is a great thing for Garth Snow as Comrie’s value has skyrocketed in comparison to what it was on Dec. 1, 2008.

The worst thing that could happen for the Islanders and Comrie’s trade value would be an injury or a complete drop-off in production.

When you take these two factors into account, the Islanders are looking at a trade window that could bring them anywhere from a straight-up first rounder from a very desperate team, to the least return of possibly a third-round pick and a mid-level prospect.

The next month and a half will be very interesting, especially considering the large number of injuries league-wide. For us Islander fans, we can only hope that Comrie begins to catch fire, and that fire lasts all the way up until March 4, 2009.