Big NHL trades in October don’t come often but we have one here. The New York Islanders have acquired Thomas Vanek from the Buffalo Sabres in-exchange for Matt Moulson, 2014 1st round pick and a 2015 2nd round pick, per Arthur Staple of Newsday.
For the Sabres it’s about as good of a haul as they would have gotten at any point getting a first and second rounder, in addition to Moulson who is an unrestricted free agent at seasons end. Buffalo is a mess right now at the NHL level but they are deep on prospects and are very likely to turn around and trade Moulson for a first or second rounder before the trade deadline as I don’t see him resigning there. They have the potential to rebuild the right way.
The trade is interesting for the Islanders who paid a really steep price. They get an elite player in Vanek but lose Moulson who is a very productive player for them. With Vanek being a free agent at seasons end who can walk for nothing, they gave up a ton when it comes to the uncertainty surrounding whether they can keep Vanek long-term. No contract extension is in place.
Losing Moulson is also a blow for the Islanders who has great chemistry with John Tavares and is very well liked in the room.
Vanek has 4 goals and 9 points on the season, while Moulson has 6 goals and 9 points.