New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow phoned in to Hockey Central @ Noon Thursday and he was questioned about what has largely been considered a massive failing on the Thomas Vanek front on trade deadline day.
Snow secured 20-year-old prospect Sebastian Collberg from the Montreal Canadiens, along with a conditional second round pick.
On the lead-up to Wednesday's trade deadline: "There were conversations with several teams. I think what happened yesterday and not just in our case, but with a few of the players that were goal scorers I think was a domino that was waiting to fall and that player probably never moved. That's just my sense and probably why things lasted as long as they did."
Snow didn't elaborate on which player to which he was referring. *cough* Kesler *cough*
"It was more of a wait and see by other teams and really, we didn't get an offer on Thomas until probably just after noon."
That was the first offer you received at any point?
On bringing Vanek into the Isles' fold in the first place: "We made that deal to improve our club. And I think when you watch the chemistry with Thomas, John (Tavares) and Kyle Okposo, it was probably one of the more productive lines in the NHL.
"It was a fun line to watch. We wanted to improve our club. The first round pick, which we hold a little bit of control and can defer to next year and then the second round pick in 2015... we felt once we got Thomas in and around our group he would have a better chance or would think maybe a little bit differently about signing than if we just tried calling him on July 1.
"So for us, we made a trade at the time to improve our club. The first and the second obviously were assets that I thought if things went south, we could recoup some of it and move him if the season didn't unfold the way we anticipated.
"So fast-forward to yesterday and where we are in the standings it was time to try to recover some of the assets we gave up at the time."
Here's where things got particularly interesting.
"Now Matt Moulson, when he was an Islander, we had a conversation and he wasn't a player we were looking to bring back on July 1 at the time and so we were trading a pending free agent and received a pending free agent in return."
Why wouldn't you be looking to bring Moulson back? Price point?
"I don't want to get into reasons why but at the end of the day we got a player we felt could make our team better in Thomas Vanek. There's no arguing with his production. He's a 40-goal scorer in this league. He obviously played at a high level with that line, so in that regard there was a chemistry that we anticipated before we made the trade."
Snow went on to say he took a shot at improving his club and tried to do what he felt was the best move at the time.
The GM spoke about the progress of the team's prospects, Andrew MacDonald and more, including his rationale behind the deal that was finally consummated between the Isles and the Canadiens involving Vanek.
The gist of his thought process was he was looking for a first round pick and a prospect for Vanek. Usually the first rounder is in the high twenties in terms of draft order and they feel Collberg is two years ahead of where that pick would be this summer.
"We kind of took a different route, realizing the first round pick wasn't going to come to fruition."
Did Vanek give the Isles a fair shot to sign with them?
"Absolutely. I have a lot of respect for Thomas. He, in my opinion, can be a world-class player at times. He obviously battles consistency at times. For us, he was a solid player and he was a great person off the ice.
"I know the situation he came into with a very popular player being traded, he came into probably not the most settling of situations into the locker room and he fit in great and that's a compliment to him as a person and obviously as a player we all saw what he did on that line. I give Thomas a lot of credit as a player and a person to come in and fit in with a group that was pretty close to the player that was departed."
Snow wouldn't answer a question about whether he would take another run at signing Vanek in the summer, citing tampering.
Many more nuggets of info in the interview, including his thoughts on the team's goaltending, the John Tavares injury at the Olympics and more. Definitely worth a listen.