'THIS MAKES US A BETTER TEAM'
Before last night's game, Islanders general manager Garth Snow shared some insight into yesterday's trade in which his team acquired young defenseman Fred Meyer and a conditional third round draft pick from the Flyers in exchange for veteran defenseman Alexei Zhitnik.
"This is a trade that makes us younger and more mobile that's why we did it," Snow told Islanders TV, Bloomberg radio and a group of reporters in his office pre-game. "It was in the works on and off for about a month and finally came together where both teams were satisfied. We're very happy with the deal because, simply put, it makes us a better hockey team."
The Islanders GM explained that second-year defenseman Chris Campoli's readiness to return to NHL action played a crucial part in his decision to make the deal. "Without a doubt, we look at the deal like it brings us both Freddy Meyer a talented young player who put up good numbers with the Flyers last season and Chris Campoli. Chris had a tough break with his injury in camp, but we have always been very high on him. This deal gives him a chance." Snow refused to speculate about the Islanders defense when Meyer is ready to return from his back injury, which could be as early as next week. "All I can say is that the players that give us the best chance to win will play, and that's Ted's decision."
Snow also acknowledged that the deal provides flexibility under the salary cap. "Absolutely, but that's an added benefit," the GM said. "It's not why we did the deal. As I said, we did it to get younger and more mobile. But, of course, it gives us some flexibility to do some things down the road if needed." Asked by reporters if that means a trade is coming very soon, Snow said, "If you're asking me if something is imminent, no. This deal stands alone."
Snow had nothing but praise for his friend and former teammate Zhitnik, now a Flyer. "Alexei Zhitnik is pure class, a real professional," said Snow. "I really liked him as a teammate and I was a fan of his as a manager. I have nothing but great things to say about Z."
As you would expect, Zhitnik left the Coliseum this morning with his head held high, despite his obvious disappointment. "I would have liked to stay," said Zhitnik. "I love the team, the area, the staff, my teammates. But that's the business of hockey. I hope the Islanders have a lot of success."