Islanders Add Depth at the Deadline

The New York Islanders made several moves today to add depth to their solid team. The Islanders acquired forward Tyler Kennedy, goaltender Michal Neuvirth, center Dustin Jeffrey, and defenseman Mark Louis. All of these players were acquired in separate deals before today’s 3 p.m. ET deadline.

Here’s a breakdown of all four trades:

Goaltender Swap:

The Islanders improved their goaltending depth by making a trade for Buffalo Sabres goaltender Michal Neuvirth. The Islanders sent backup goaltender Chad Johnson and a third-round draft pick in 2016 to the Sabres.

Neuvirth has performed well in a bad situation in Buffalo. In 27 appearances this season, Neuvirth has a .918 save percentage and 2.99 goals-against average despite a rough 6-17-3 record.

Johnson, meanwhile, has struggled in a backup role for the Islanders. He has an .889 save percentage and 3.08 goals-against average in 19 appearances. He had an 8-8-1 record as well.

Neuvirth should help spell Islanders starter Jaroslav Halak as the season wears on, giving the no. 1 goalie some rest heading into the postseason. Also, if Halak is injured, there’s a good chance that Neuvirth can step in and at least be an adequate injury replacement having had previous starter experience. He’s just a little more reliable than Johnson at this point.

As part of the fun quirks of the trade deadline, Neuvirth will play alongside Halak a year after the two were part of the same deadline deal. Halak was shipped from the Sabres to the Washington Capitals after previously landing in Buffalo via the Ryan Miller Trade with St. Louis. Neuvirth was part of the return for Buffalo and now the two will be teammates on an entirely different club.

Conacher For Jeffrey:

In a minor move, the Islanders shipped forward Cory Conacher, who had been playing at AHL Bridgeport, to Vancouver for forward Dustin Jeffrey.

Conacher, 25, has a goal and two assists in 15 games with the Islanders this season. He has appeared in 28 games with the American Hockey League’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers, putting up five goals and 17 assists.

Jeffrey, 27, has 17 goals and 24 assists in 49 games with Utica this season.

Dustin Jeffrey might just be another one of the those emergency call-ups that helps the Islanders.

Conditional Pick For Kennedy:

The Islanders sent a conditional pick to San Jose for Tyler Kennedy, a 28-year-old forward who was part of Pittsburgh’s Stanley Cup-winning team in 2008-09 and had 21 goals and 45 points for the Penguins in 2010-11.

Kennedy played his first six seasons for the Penguins before going to the Sharks prior to last season. He played in 67 games in 2013-14 but struggled to find a role this season, producing just nine points in 25 games.

For his career, he has 84 goals and 194 points in 464 games. Perhaps more importantly, Kennedy has 76 games of playoff experience and six game-winning goals.

Kennedy figures to slot in among New York’s forwards depending on need. Regulars Kyle Okposo (eye), Mikhail Grabovski (upper body) and Casey Cizikas (lower body) are currently out with injuries.

Leggio For Louis:

In another minor move, the Islanders acquired defenseman Mark Louis in exchange for goaltender David Leggio.

Leggio, 30, is 7-13-0 to go along with an .861 save percentage and a 3.93 GAA in 23 games with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League this season.

Leggio made news earlier this season when he purposely dislodge his net while facing a 2-on-0 breakaway during a November game against the Springfield Falcons.

Louis, 27, has three assists and 77 penalty minutes in 34 games with the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage this season.

Again, Mark Louis just might be another one of those emergency call-ups that steps up and plays a big role.

Islanders general manager, Garth Snow was definitely working his magic at the trade deadline. He always has a trick up his sleeve like the many moves he made this past summer. Although it didn’t snow today, all the Islanders fans gladly saw it happen. Snow has made this team a championship caliber team for sure. Islanders fans should trust and thank Garth Snow for all his hard work. Hopefully it pays off this June.

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