Hockey writers love breaking down a big trade, and the Thomas Vanek-Matt Moulson swap certainly qualifies.
The Score's hockey analyst, Justin Bourne, acknowledges that the price was steep to acquire Vanek from the Sabres, but that the Islanders were in the perfect position to pay:
I feel like the Islanders are in a place where their system is already full of young talent, their division is struggling, and the rare chance to add that coveted difference-making skill presented itself. They gave up a little more than some might expect (I'm sure Sabres fans aren't too bummed), but I think it's at least a justifiable trade on Garth Snow's part.
(Read the rest of Bourne's take below.)
Kevin Allen of USA Today applauds the Sabres for landing an impressive return for a player who likely wasn't going to re-sign there, anyhow:
From the Sabres' perspective, this is a strong return for a rental player. He has scored 30 or more goals three times in his career and posted 44 points in 47 games last season. Moulson also will be an unrestricted free agent, but the Sabres might feel like they have a reasonable chance to re-sign him.
Puck Daddy's Greg Wyshynski suggests that Sabres fans give Darcy Regier credit where it's due, having made a favorable deal that may take some of the heat off the team's slow start:
Darcy Regier has been a punching bag for Sabres fans for years and for the national media recently (thanks, John Scott). But in the midst of a major rebuild, here’s another impressive return for a player that was going to leave Buffalo, provided Moulson signs. If you're someone predisposed to treat Darcy Regier as the general managing equivalent of a festering boil, please wait until we see what he does with this stockpile before lancing him.
Minneapolis Star-Tribune writer Michael Russo wonders if Vanek will sign a long-term deal with the Islanders:
Don't cancel #Vanekwatch to Minnesota just yet. I'd still be surprised if Vanek doesn't test the market, although obviously a lot can change between now and next summer. Maybe the Islanders go on a run, maybe the Islanders sell their future to him, maybe they throw the Federal Reserve at him.
Finally, WGR 550's Paul Hamilton paints a rosy picture of the Sabres' future:
In 2014 they have their own first-round pick as well as the Islanders'. The three second-round picks they now own are theirs, Minnesota’s for Jason Pominville and the Kings' for Robyn Regehr. In 2015 Buffalo has its first-round pick and another three in the second round: theirs, the Islanders' and again the Kings' for Regehr.