New York Appears To Solve Halak Backup Situation, Adds Bottom 6 Forward Depth

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — So much for the Islanders standing pat at the trade deadline.

The Metropolitan Division leaders pulled off four trades on Monday as they attempted to position themselves for the playoffs.

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Thought to have already done most of their shopping prior to the season with trades for defensemen Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy, in addition to several key free agent signings, the Islanders were quiet up until Monday when they acquired depth forward Tyler Kennedy and reportedly goaltender Michal Neuvirth.

The Islanders sent a conditional pick to San Jose for Kennedy, a 28-year-old forward who was part of Pittsburgh’s Stanley Cup-winning team in 2008-09 and had 21 goals and 45 points for the Penguins in 2010-11. The Isles then sent a conditional third round pick in 2016 and disappointing backup goalie Chad Johnson to Buffalo for goalie Michal Neuvirth, Sportsnet reported.

In the first of two minor moves, first reported by WFAN.com, the Isles shipped forward Cory Conacher, who had been playing at AHL Bridgeport, to Vancouver for forward Dustin Jeffrey.

They later sent minor league goalie David Leggio to Arizona for defenseman Mark Louis.

Kennedy played his first six seasons for the Penguins before going to the Sharks prior to last season. He played in 67 games in 2013-14 but struggled to find a role this season, producing just nine points in 25 games.

For his career, the 5-foot-11, 185-pound forward has 84 goals and 194 points in 464 games. Perhaps more importantly, Kennedy has 76 games of playoff experience and six game-winning goals.

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After appearing in 86 games for Washington during the 2010-11 and ’11-’12 seasons, Neuvirth saw his playing time dwindle to the point where the Capitals traded him to the Sabres last season for, ironically, the Islanders’ current starting goalie, Jaroslav Halak. The Isles acquired Halak’s rights from Washington last May and then signed him to a four-year, $18 million contract.

Neuvirth, who like Kennedy will be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, appeared in 27 games for Buffalo this season, going 6-17-3 with a 2.99 goals-against average. However, his .918 save percentage was more than respectable when one considers that the league-worst Sabres are going through a youth movement.

In eight NHL seasons, Neuvirth, 26, is 59-41-13 with a 2.67 GAA and .910 save percentage.

“It’s definitely a big opportunity,” Neuvirth told TSN. “I know Jaroslav Halak is having an outstanding year. I feel like the Islanders have a really good team and they want to go really far in the playoffs. So whatever I can do, I can help them get as far as we can.”

Johnson signed a two-year, $2.6 million deal with the Islanders last summer, but never got his game in gear, going 8-8-1 with a 3.08 GAA and .889 save percentage.

The Islanders (41-21-2) entered play Monday two points ahead of the second-place Rangers in the Metropolitan. With 18 games remaining, Neuvirth figures to play enough to keep Halak rested for the playoffs.

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Kennedy will likely slot in among New York’s forwards depending on need. Regulars Kyle Okposo (eye), Mikhail Grabovski (upper body) and Casey Cizikas (lower body) are currently out with injuries.