EDMONTON, Alberta — Garth Snow waited until the last possible minute to unload Thomas Vanek. What he got back — a conditional second-round pick and a young forward prospect — from the Canadiens seemed far below what the Islanders and their fans were hoping to get back for the scoring winger.
“It wasn’t a very active market,” Snow told Newsday on Wednesday afternoon, shortly after the 3 p.m. EST deadline passed. There were certainly lots of players moved, but the Islanders’ GM meant the offers were not pouring in for rentals like Vanek.
So just a few minutes after the deadline — trades need only be reported to the league by 3 p.m., with word coming out after — Snow sent Vanek to the Canadiens for that conditional pick and 20-year-old forward Sebastian Collberg, Montreal’s 2012 second-rounder who is currently playing for Frolunda in his native Sweden.
“This was the best deal that was tabled,” Snow said.
Meanwhile, Vanek was thrilled to go to Montreal.
“When you think of a hockey Mecca, Montreal is it,” Vanek said on a conference call. “I played many times for Buffalo in Montreal and it’s so electric. I’m super excited.”
Vanek becomes the Canadiens’ leading scorer with 53 points. The 30-year-old Austrian player is in the final season of a $50 million, seven-year contract.
He would not speculate on whether he would seek a new contract to stay in Montreal after this season.
“It’s been a tough year for me and my family,” he said. “I knew there was a chance we’d move again. Now it’s over and I’m a Montreal Canadien and I can just focus on hockey and helping that team win a lot of games.”
Kings go for Gaborik
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Los Angeles Kings have struggled to score goals all season, and few NHL players do it better than a healthy, hungry Marian Gaborik.
The Kings hope that’s just what they’ve got after acquiring the Slovak scoring whiz from Columbus.
The Blue Jackets got right wing Matt Frattin and two conditional draft picks for Gaborik, who’s finally healthy after an injury-plagued season.
Just as Jeff Carter did two years ago when he left Columbus for Los Angeles in a deadline deal, the Kings hope Gaborik fits right in on their defense-minded roster. He could be in the lineup in Winnipeg on Thursday for the Kings, who have won five straight to solidify their playoff position.
Injuries have limited Gaborik to six goals in 22 games this season.
Other notable trades
• The Dallas Stars picked up Tim Thomas from the Florida Panthers for Dan Ellis in a swap of goaltenders designed to give Dallas a boost behind Kari Lehtonen in its push for the playoffs. Thomas had a 2.97 goals-against average in 40 starts for the Panthers but was expendable when they picked up Roberto Luongo Monday.
• The Pittsburgh Penguins acquired forward Marcel Goc from the Florida Panthers and forward Lee Stempniak, a West Seneca native, from the Calgary Flames in exchange for draft picks. Goc had 11 goals and 12 assists in 62 games this season for the Panthers, and the 31-year-old Stempniak had five goals and 18 assists in 52 games with Calgary.
• The Nashville Predators traded away their first-ever draft pick, sending forward David Legwand to his hometown Detroit Red Wings. Legwand, who turns 34 in August, was the expansion Predators’ first pick in the 1998 draft as the No. 2 overall selection. He was tied with Shea Weber for the team points lead with 40.
• Ales Hemsky, who scored twice in the Edmonton Oilers’ 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators Tuesday, was traded to the Senators for a third-round draft pick this year and a fifth-rounder in 2015. Hemsky has nine goals and 17 assists in 55 games this season.
Around the league
• In Martin St. Louis’ first game with the Rangers, New York lost 3-2 in overtime to the Toronto Maple Leafs on a goal by Tyler Bozak 1:51 into overtime. Bozak also scored on a penalty shot earlier in the game. St. Louis was traded from Tampa Bay for Rangers captain Ryan Callahan.
• Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek each had two goals, and Michael Raffl and Steve Downie also scored to lead the Philadelphia Flyers to a 6-4 win over the Washington Capitals.