New York Islanders at the Trading Deadline: Buy or Sell?

Ari BuziashviliContributor IJanuary 22, 2008

With the All-Star break just up ahead, people in the world of hockey will be turning their attention to a hectic period known as the trading deadline.

Specifically, when it comes to the Islanders, many people are curious as to what Garth Snow will do this winter.

The playoff race is very tight: teams placed 4th through 12th are separated in the standings by just 10 points. The biggest determining factor for the Islanders will be whether or not management believes the team has the ability to reach the Stanley Cup finals.

There are a couple of scenarios here. If the Isles are still in the playoff picture come deadline, they could secure additional help, which is a possibility. Another scenario is that they will be out of the playoff hunt by the time the deadline rolls around, but this is highly unlikely as the race is so tight.

However, in my opinion, after what we saw transpire last year even if the Isles still view themselves as contenders at the deadline, I say there is only one answer:

Sell, Sell, Sell.

If last year's team couldn't get past the first round, then what makes this team any different? At least last year's team could score some goals. This season's Islanders have one of the worst offenses in the entire league.

If the Islanders traded for help and then didn't make the playoffs, it would only add to the ever-growing list of embarrassments in franchise history. If they somehow finished the season in 8th place, they would be ousted in the first round, as usual.

Snow has the assets to improve the Islanders' farm system and add a few draft picks as well. Those assets consist mainly of Miroslav Satan and Jeff Tambellini.

Satan is a good player who is able to dominate games and score timely goals when he wants to. The problem is that he decides to do so once every ten games. In the middle of a contract year, he has struggled to score and just doesn't seem to fit into the Isles' future plans. He should be traded to a team looking to go deep into the playoffs, a team looking for a top six winger with experience.

Tambellini is an AHL All-Star and could one day turn into a solid NHL player. But this scenario will most likely pan out on a different team. Ted Nolan has had a multitude of opportunities to use his services, but has refrained from doing so.

The Isles need to continue to develop their farm system and do a better job of drafting before they can ever hope to have a legitimate shot for the Cup. This is not the year, and the fans shouldn't be forced to watch another failed attempt.