Thomas Vanek is on the move again.
Just over four months after being shipped from the Buffalo Sabres to the New York Islanders, the 30-year-old is once more at the center of a trade, as the Metropolitan Division's bottom-dwellers have dealt him to the Montreal Canadiens prior to Wednesday's deadline.
The Islanders confirmed the news:
#ISLES TRANSACTION: Thomas Vanek has been traded to Montreal in exchange for Sebastian Collberg & conditional second-round pick in 2014— NYIslanders (@NYIslanders) March 5, 2014
Newsday's Arthur Staple initially broke the news:
#Isles have traded Thomas Vanek, source says. Waiting to hear where and what's coming back.— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) March 5, 2014
Chris Botta of The New York Times provided info on the conditional pick:
Isles now saying they only get the 2nd rounder if Canadiens make this year's playoffs.— Chris Botta (@ChrisBottaNHL) March 5, 2014
ESPN's Pierre LeBrun provided details on Vanek's next destination and what the Islanders will be getting in return:
Vanek to Montreal in exchange for a 2nd round pick and a prospect— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) March 5, 2014
Brett Cyrgalis of The New York Post and Staple provide Islanders GM Garth Snow's take on the trades:
Just off the phone with #Isles Garth Snow. His scouts love Collberg, saying, "this was the best deal, by far, we received."— Brett Cyrgalis (@BrettCyrgalis) March 5, 2014
Snow: "W/ this deal and the MacDonald deal, we have some chips we can play with at the draft and a potential top-6 F in Collberg." #Isles— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) March 5, 2014
Since coming over from the Sabres in late October, the Austrian native has been productive for New York, tallying 44 points (17 goals and 27 assists) in 47 games. His plus-four rating is also tied for second best on the team behind only Thomas Hickey.
He was mired in a bit of a slump both before and after going to Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics, but the start of March saw him net two goals and four points in two games to bolster his trade value at the perfect time.
EJ Hradek of the NHL Network believes it's a smart deal for the Canadiens:
I've always felt Montreal was a dark horse 4 Vanek (and I have the tape 2 prove it). They've seen him a lot as a former DIV rival. Fits need— EJ Hradek (@EJHradek_NHL) March 5, 2014
Despite the offensive prowess he brought to New York, the writing was always on the wall that he would eventually be headed elsewhere. An unrestricted free agent after the season, Vanek recently shed light, via Newsday's Steven Marcus, on what he's looking for in a potential suitor:
I'm now 30 years old. I still feel I got seven, eight good years left in me, but I want to set myself up and make sure I'm on a team where I can make the playoffs and have a chance.
Can you predict which team is going to be good? No. But you can probably have a good idea of who's going in the right direction.
The Islanders, who currently sit at 24-32-8 and well behind a playoff spot in the East, couldn't offer that to the veteran, and he subsequently turned down a seven-year extension worth a massive $50 million.
All things considered, though, this is a win-win situation for both sides.
Vanek brings with him a talented, creative offensive presence that should give Montreal a major boost in its quest for the Stanley Cup. Garth Snow and co., before losing him for nothing in the summer, were able to turn him for future assets that will help move along the current rebuilding process.