No goaltender, forward or defenseman will be more important to the Islanders than Garth Snow this season. The club’s general manager will likely be part of multiple moves when the NHL’s trade deadline rolls around March 4.
But Snow didn’t even wait until the end of February to fire the salvo in a potential fire sale, sending Mike Comrie and Chris Campoli to Ottawa in exchange for a 2009 first-round pick the Senators had previously acquired from San Jose. Dean McAmmond also included in the deal and will take Comrie’s place on the roster as a forward.
The move was the opening salvo in the quest to stockpile picks for an Islanders club that claims an NHL-low 40 points and 17 wins. For the short term, Snow will be able to plug in McAmmond-a veteran of 916 games-into a winger spot. The 35-year-old will be joining his seventh organization since entering the league with the Blackhawks in 1991-92. He has 176 career goals.
“We’re excited that we are able to add another piece to our rebuilding plans while bringing in someone like Dean who will provide additional depth for our team,” Snow said in a statement. “The Islanders organization would like to thank Mike and Chris for their contributions both on and off
the ice over the past few seasons.”
By procuring the first
round pick, the Islanders will be able to pick twice in the first 30 spots of a draft. The last-place Isles are the favorite to land the No. 1 overall selection and could pick anywhere from No. 21-30 with the second pick depending on how the Sharks finish the regular season. San Jose currently leads the Pacific Division.
Campoli was the key to the deal. Ottawa picked up the 24-year-old defenseman after he asked the Islanders to trade him. He told reporters that he didn’t feel like a good fit in first-year head coach Scott Gordon’s forechecking-intensive system.
During his rookie year in 2005-06, Campoli seemed like a potential cornerstone offensive-minded defenseman when he tailed nine goals and 25 assists for 34 points in 80 games as a 21-year-old.
But Campoli was sidelined by injuries the past two years, never playing more than 60 games. He recorded just one goal in 51 games in going through a sophomore slump and f followed that up with a four-goal effort in 46 games last season. His numbers picked up this year via his six goals in 51 games, though he struggled in adapting to Gordon’s style, carrying a minus-20 into his new team.
Comrie re-signed with the Islanders last season, inking a one-year contract extension. But that means the 28-year-old can be an unrestricted free agent. The centerman battled through back problems this season, scoring just seven goals in 41 games. He was the only Islander outside of Bill Guerin to crack the 20-goal mark in 2007-08, notching 21 in 76 games.