NHL

Islanders acquire Vanek from Sabres for Moulson, picks

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TSN.ca Staff
10/28/2013 12:15:19 AM
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The New York Islanders have acquired forward Thomas Vanek from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for forward Matt Moulson, a conditional first round draft pick in 2014 and a 2015 second round pick.

Should the first round pick end up being in the top 10 this year, the Islanders have the option to defer the pick to the 2015 NHL Draft.

Vanek, 29, is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2013-14 season. In 13 games this season, he has scored four goals and added five assists.

The Austrian is in the final year of a seven-year deal he signed with the Sabres prior to 2007-08 worth an average annual value of $7.142 million.

"We had opportunity to acquire an elite player and given where we are right now (.500), you go for it," Islanders general manager Garth Snow told TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie.

"If we hadn't drafted so well, if we didn't have good prospects, we couldn't afford to take the risk," Snow told McKenzie on the steep price the Islanders paid to acquire Vanek.

The Islanders had not held contract extension discussions with Vanek prior to acquiring him.

Getting the deal done in October came as a surprise to many, but Sabres general manager Darcy Regier stated his pleasure with the return the team was able to get so early in the season.

"It was something we felt we had to do," Sabres general manager Darcy Regier told reporters Sunday night. "I think this is more an overall deal that will improve this hockey club going forward."

Vanek's agent Stephen Bartlett told McKenzie that his client is "excited to be an Islander."

"We'll take it day by day and focus on the short term for now and see where we are at season's end," Bartlett told McKenzie..

Vanek has scored 254 goals and 243 assists in 598 career NHL games, all with the Sabres. He has eclipsed the 30-goal plateau on four occasions, including a career-high 43 in 2006-07. The Sabres originally selected him fifth-overall at the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.

Moulson has scored six goals and three assists with the Islanders in 11 games so far in 2013-14. He, too, is set to become an unrestricted free agent at season's end.

He is in the final season of a three-year deal worth an average annual value of $3.13 million.

Moulson has emerged as an offensive threat alongside Islanders captain John Tavares. He has scored 30-or-more goals in his last three full NHL seasons, including a career-best 36 in 2011-12.

The 29-year-old expressed his surprise at the end of his Islanders tenure to ESPN's Katie Strang, saying "I thought this could be a possibility but I didn't think this was going to happen."

"I guess this is what happens in pro sports," Moulson told Strang. "I gotta move on. I'll obviously miss everyone, but this will be a new chapter."

He was originally selected in the ninth round (263rd-overall) by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. He has scored 124 goals and 109 assists in 333 career NHL games with the Islanders and Los Angeles Kings.

The Sabres are currently last in the Eastern Conference with a 2-10-1 record and just five points through their first 11 games.

Vanek was one of two high-profile Sabres playing out the final year of a contract alongside goaltender Ryan Miller.

Thomas Vanek (Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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