Its a word that comes out of Islanders fans' mouths way too often these days. Its 4 letters, starts with the letter C, and makes me cringe every time I hear or read it. And for the sake of this post...and for only that reason, I am going to use it multiple times today.
Garth Snow and the Islanders tried very hard after dismantling a team that barely made it into the playoffs a few years ago, to sell the Islanders fans on a rebuild of the team. Management warned of a few bad years ahead in the name of building a competitive team 'correctly' through the development of young talent, and somewhere along the lines someone used the word core. I don't know if it was a team official, a team broadcaster, or a team sponsored blogger, but the word was used and Islanders fans latched on to it.
Since the words initial use, fans have tried to define who they believe is a core player. The problem is that fans started getting over excited about players drafted by the Islanders and players who never sniffed the NHL were being dubbed core players, players who for arguments sake, were deemed untouchable in trade discussions. These players hadn't even played one game as a professional and they were being inserted into fans "future" lines. As a result, other players who were just up and coming and starting to produce in the NHL and hone their skills were branded expendable as trade bait for other teams' star players.
I am going to get a lot of backlash for this but here is a list of Islanders prospects who are NOT core players (for liability sake I will say this list is valid as of July 4, 2011):
Kirill Petrov, Kirill Kabanov, Brock Nelson, Matt Donovan, Anders Lee, Casey Cizikas, Aaron Ness, Rhett Rakhshani, Mikko Koskinen, and to a lesser extent, even Calvin de Haan.
This has bothered me for a long time but what has really brought this to the forefront is possible trade talk with Phoenix for Keith Yandle. Any speculation from fans have them sending Blake Comeau, Josh Bailey, or P.A. Parenteau to the desert, followed by "future lines" littered with the names of prospects. Well I may be the only person in Islanders Country who feels this way, but if Don Maloney asked Garth Snow for Nelson, Donovan, and a future draft pick for Yandle I would hop on it in a heartbeat.
I would much rather give up someone with potential as opposed to guys who have proven they can produce at the highest level. You can throw the word consistency out there all you want, and again I know I'll get an earful for this, but I'd rather keep a 25 year old winger who has scored 24 goals in a season already in his career, a 28 year old who posted 20 goals and 53 points in his first full NHL season, and a 21 year old center who already has a 35 point season under his belt, than keep a bunch of possible contributors.
The best example in recent Islanders history I can think of is the Ryan Smyth deal a few years ago. While a lot of Islanders fans were behind the deal, there were a long list of detractors saying the Islanders had sold future stars for a late season rental. The Islanders traded former first round pick Robert Nilsson (best season 10-31-41 and hasn't come close to that since), former first rounder Ryan O' Marra (best season 1-4-5) and a first round pick that turned into Alex Plante ( has played all of 7 games).
Now I know the Smyth deal was a rental, but the point is that prospects are a crap shoot. There are a lot more Nilsson, O' Marra, and Plantes that come out of a team's prospect pool than not. In my opinion, to trade still young NHL talent instead of trading guys who may never take their potential to the next level is a mistake. Hopefully Mr. Snow shares my sentiments and we don't make the mistake of letting go guys who have proven they can produce at this level with the hope that someday one of our "core" prospects can replace their production.