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Snow Believes in Isles' Roster

by Cory Wright / New York Islanders

Sitting atop the Metropolitan Division, the New York Islanders were content to keep their roster relatively intact at Monday’s trade deadline.

That’s not to say General Manager Garth Snow wasn’t active, making four deals, but the Islanders crossed the 3 p.m. deadline without making major changes to the team that’s won 41-of-64 games this season.

“I thought our team deserved an opportunity to build off what they’ve started here in the first three quarters of the season,” General Manager Garth Snow said. “There’s a lot of good chemistry. There’s a team in that locker room and we didn’t want to delete any of the players out of it if we couldn’t.”

Snow acquired goaltender Michal Neuvirth from the Buffalo Sabres for Chad Johnson and a 2016 third-round pick, while he added Tyler Kennedy from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a conditional pick in 2015 or 2016. Snow also acquired depth pieces in defenseman Mark Louis and forward Dustin Jeffrey.

Neuvirth is 6-17-3 this season, but turned his game up in February, posting a 3-4-2 record and a .938 save percentage. The 26-year-old took over the Sabres starting role after Jhonas Enroth was traded to the Dallas Stars on Feb. 11.

“When you see Michal Neuvirth’s performance, especially in the last 30 days, he’s played at an extremely high level,” Snow said. “It was an opportunity for us to make a move and get a little better at that position.”

Kennedy, a winger, has nine points (four goals, five assists) in 25 games this season. He won a Stanley Cup in 2009 with the Pittsburgh Penguins and has 76 games of playoff experience, the second most on the Islanders behind Johnny Boychuk. A natural winger, Kennedy is expected to add depth on the right side.

“Kennedy played extremely well against us a couple of years back,” Snow added. “He obviously can bring that element of speed to our lineup. It was an area to improve our depth and we acted on it.”

Both players are expected to join the team Tuesday. Kennedy will wear number 26, while Neuvirth wears 30.

In addition to Johnson, the Islanders parted with two minor-league players, sending Cory Conacher to Vancouver for Jeffrey and dealing David Leggio to Arizona for Louis.

“I love the group that we have,” Head Coach Jack Capuano said. “No matter what anybody does, we have to worry about ourselves and we believe in this group.”

The deadline deals capped off an exciting week of off-ice action and on-ice milestones for the Islanders. Within the past seven days, Nick Leddy inked a seven-year extension, Jaroslav Halak set a single-season wins record, Anders Lee was named the NHL’s rookie of the month and John Tavares’ 30th goal/65th point vaulted him to the top of the NHL’s scoring lead.

The Islanders’ next test is the current four-game road trip, starting Tuesday in Dallas.

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