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New York Islanders Acquire Thomas Vanek in Trade for Matt Moulson, Draft Picks

The Islanders sent Matt Moulson, a 2014 first-round pick and a 2015 second-round pick to the Buffalo Sabres for Thomas Vanek

Give us all the Austrians.
Give us all the Austrians.
Jen Fuller

In a shocking trade of pending unrestricted free agent left wings, the New York Islanders have acquired Thomas Vanek from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for winger Matt Moulson and two draft picks, including a 2014 first-round pick and a 2015 second-round pick.

Moulson, a 30-goal scorer in all three of his full (non-lockout) NHL seasons, is a longtime friend and linemate of Islanders captain John Tavares, though the Isles had experimented with him off of Tavares' wing this year.

Vanek is a dynamic scorer and a bigger name than Moulson, but that's arguably because he made the NHL at an earlier age. Vanek is a better skater and puck mover, so the Isles are no doubt counting on that to alleviate pressure from Tavares which Moulson, who is a clinical finisher in the offensive zone, cannot quite do in the other two zones.

Both players are 29 years old and set to cash in this summer as unrestricted free agents. Is Vanek better than Moulson by a large enough margin to fetch two valuable draft picks? And will Vanek take to Long Island -- he is an Austrian like fellow Islander and friend Michael Grabner -- well enough to sign a contract extension before hitting the market this summer?

That's what the Islanders, who are treading water at 4-4-3 through 11 games, are counting on.

UPDATE: Newsday's Arthur Staple has the first quotes from Islanders general manager Garth Snow, including:

This is uncharacteristically fast movement by Snow, in terms of striking this early in the season. His mention of the "next step" and other quotes via Staple indicate he believes the team needs to not just be as good as it was last year, but better. And now.

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