New York Islanders: Is Shane Prince's Limited Deployment Alarming?
Dec 16, 2016; Buffalo, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Shane Prince (11) takes shot as Buffalo Sabres defenseman Josh Gorges (4) defends during the first period at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Shane Prince has played sparingly, begging the following question: is it him, or the coaching staff?

When the Islanders acquired Shane Prince last trade deadline, those who weren’t appalled by Garth Snow‘s lack of big moves were actually excited by the addition.

Their rationale was simple: Prince was improperly deployed by the Ottawa Senators, so with more favorable playing time, he’d be able to showcase the speed and instincts that helped him get selected in the second round of the 2011 NHL Draft.

Well, it’s been more than a season since the Isles plucked Prince from the Sens, and let’s face it: he’s still not playing every night. So is it that interim head coach Doug Weight (and former head coach Jack Capuano) has it out for Prince? Or is Prince just not who we expected him to be?

To answer this question, let’s rewind to February of last year when Snow completed the deal. Here’s how Silver Seven Sens reacted to the trade:

“In the end, I don’t get why you trade him for what at best is a wash, at worst is a huge loss. If the team needed to offload someone, why not Puempel who has been more disappointing in both the AHL and NHL and has a higher draft pedigree? Why not Alex Chiasson, who likely would’ve got a better return and reportedly was asked about but Bryan Murray refused to deal?”

Silver Seven’s complaints are likely why Snow pulled the trigger on the deal: there was no real downside to doing so. Prince commanded little return, despite supposedly having higher value than some of the other forwards on the Sens.

But here’s something to ponder: if you’re in the market for a new home, and stumble upon one that’s significantly cheaper than the average, odds are there’s something you aren’t seeing. Otherwise, your broker would purchase it himself and sell it at market value for a profit. Or someone else would come along and snag it before you. Either way, you wouldn’t be the new owner of this house.

Prince wasn’t a salary cap casualty. He wasn’t a sneaky, under-the-radar winger that the Senators’ front office just failed to recognize. No, he just wasn’t — and currently isn’t — a very good player.

Now, that’s not to say he isn’t serviceable. As a twelfth forward, maybe even as an eleventh, Prince isn’t terrible. But it’s pretty telling that guys like Stephen Gionta and Alan Quine are being regularly inserted into the lineup over him.

So, at the end of the day, is this a move Snow completes again if he has a do-over? Yes, because it didn’t cost him anything and Prince has done some good things, too. But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves: Prince has been fun to root for and all, but isn’t anything special.

Justin Weiss is a staff editor at Elite Sports New York, where he covers the New York Islanders and Brooklyn Cyclones. In 2016, he received a Quill Award for Freelance Journalism. He has written for the Long Island Herald, FanSided and YardBarker.