The NHL finally saw some trade movement ahead of Wednesday's much-anticipated deadline, with the Anaheim Ducks making multiple moves that led many observers to think they are pursuing Thomas Vanek.
Vanek, the New York Islanders pending free agent left wing who is viewed as the prize of this year's meat market, carries a $5.75 million cap hit (reduced from $7.14 million thanks to Buffalo retaining salary in his trade from the Sabres).
The Ducks have room under the cap but are also a budget-conscious team, so clearing some weight in the event of a trade is logical.
What the Ducks Did
In quick succession, the Ducks:
- Traded enigmatic winger Dustin Penner ($2 million cap hit) to Washington for a 2014 4th-round pick
- Traded goalie Viktor Fasth ($2.9 million cap hit) to Edmonton for a 2014 5th-round pick and 2015 3rd-round pick
- Reportedly reached a deal to acquire Stars defenseman Stephan Robidas ($3.3 million cap hit)
- Recalled goalie Frederik Anderson from the AHL
All salaries source: CapGeek
Ducks saved $1.6M of (pro-rated) salary in three deals. Not an insignificant number for them.— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) March 4, 2014
What that Means for the Isles
The online universe erupted with conclusions that this meant the Ducks were moving for Vanek*, who would look outstanding lined up with Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf.
*So, by Murphy's trade rumor law, that means it's not happening
Here are some hockey reporters who are "hearing things" about the Isles and Ducks:
To clarify... Islanders may be interested in both Vatanen and Etem, doubt Ducks trade both. I've heard Vatanen mostly, though. We'll see.— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) March 4, 2014
That would be 21-year-old left wing Emerson Etem, a Long Beach (sorry, California) native, and 22-year-old right-shooting Finnish defenseman Sami Vatanen, who just won a bronze medal with Finland at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
While the Ducks are making room for Thomas Vanek, there's still others teams in the mix. Just consider Ducks front runners right now.— Josh Rimer (@JoshRimerHockey) March 4, 2014
As much as the Ducks are in on Vanek, told by multiple people today the Bruins are, as well.— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) March 4, 2014
And one more, with that wave passing and supporting our Murphy's Trade Rumor Law:
Meanwhile, Islanders color commentator Butch Goring goes off the authorized script with this tease after it was announced Anders Nilsson would get the start tonight in Winnipeg:
Remain calm. If you can.