Psych! While everyone was looking at Thomas Vanek and Andrew MacDonald, the Islanders pulled off another trade right under everyone's noses. It's like a magic trick, except it's incredibly disappointing.
Following Thursday's sometimes dominant/sometimes confusing loss to Calgary, the Islanders announced the trade of Peter Regin and Pierre-Marc Bouchard to the Chicago Blackhawks for a fourth round draft pick in 2014.
In a somewhat surprising twist, the Islanders will retain half of Bouchard's $2 million salary in the deal, per Pierre LeBrun:
Isles retained 50 percent of salary/cap hit for both Bouchard and Regin in trade with Hawks— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) February 7, 2014
Regin is making $750,000 this year. The Hawks are pretty tight against the salary cap, so to make the deal work, the money would need to fit. I'm not sure how this does it, but I'm sure it'll be explained by people much smarter than me later on.
Bouchard will change cities from Bridgeport to the Blackhawks' AHL farm team in Rockford and Regin will probably be a healthy scratch/depth player.
I have no idea how they'll work out for the Blackhawks. I have no feelings towards either player whatsoever. That probably tells you all you need to know about their impact on the Islanders season.
Bouchard was brought in on the cheap to ride in the P.A. Parenteau/Brad Boyes shotgun seat with John Tavares, but the chemistry wasn't present. Bounced up and down the line-up, Bouchard didn't set the world on fire, but wasn't exactly killing the Islanders either.
But with the team sputtering and Ryan Strome tearing up the AHL, Bouchard was placed on waivers in December. He passed, probably because his salary was prohibitive to most of the league. He had 17 points in 20 games for the Sound Tigers.
If Bouchard was a bargain bin signing, Regin was practically acquired for free. A teammate and friend of Frans Nielsen's from their native Denmark, Regin was highly recommended by his pal. Also like Bouchard, Regin's underlying stats say he hasn't been a bust, but he wasn't exactly making a lot of noise offensively either.
Fact is, for most of the season, you could say that about any forwards outside of John Tavares, Kyle Okposo and Thomas Vanek and maybe Nielsen and be correct. Naturally, Bouchard and Regin, the new guys, were the odd men out.
Trading two warm, live bodies for a single lottery ticket is hardly the optimal solution to the Islanders myriad of problems this season. Even for two guys shooting blanks all season, that's a seriously poor conversion rate.
More than likely, it's a warning shot from Garth Snow to his team and the NHL that his phone lines are standing by. Let's hope he stays on the phone a little longer next time.
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