The New York Islanders continued to make minor roster tweaks at the NHL Trade Deadline, dealing Jason Chimera to Anaheim for Chris Wagner.
Following a low-key acquisition in Brandon Davidson a few days ago, New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow followed up with a slightly more prominent deal, trading Jason Chimera to the Anaheim Ducks for Chris Wagner.
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) February 26, 2018
The Islanders patience with Chimera has apparently been waning over the last couple of weeks. Chimera has been a healthy scratch in the five games since the Isles received a 4-1 walloping from the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Islanders are 2-2-1 in his absence.
In exchange for the 38-year-old Chimera, the Islanders acquire a gritty, bottom-six depth center/winger, 26-year-old Chris Wagner. Prior to this season, Wagner had never played in more than 43 games in an NHL season. This year he has played in 64 so far and his improvement has started to earn him ice-time under Randy Carlyle.
The Ducks are rumored to be interested in other acquisitions through the the deadline so it’s possible that this could be the beginning of another deal for Anaheim. In the meantime, they earn a playoff veteran for another push after coming up short in their second Western Conference Final in three seasons.
With the #Isles acquisition of Chris Wagner, they now have 2 players in the Top 5 in hits (Wagner 2nd with 212 & Clutterbuck 5th with 185).
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) February 26, 2018
Wagner brings some needed stability to the Islanders bottom-six and another aggressor other than Ross Johnston. He is currently second in the NHL in hits and should pair along nicely with Cal Clutterbuck, who has been in the top 10 in hits since 2014-15 (with the exception of the 2016-17 season).
In giving up Chimera straight up for Wagner, the trade is automatically a win for Snow. Chimera has been a defensive liability throughout the year and the leash that Doug Weight and company have been granting him finally reached its end. The Islanders essentially get a better, younger and grittier bottom-six forward in a clean swap.
With the ability to play both winger and center, Wagner brings some versatility in addition to his notorious grit.
The Islanders have officially closed off the 2018 NHL trade deadline with Brandon Davidson and Chris Wagner. Snow, yet again, grants an unspoken vote of confidence to the current roster he assembled.
As for what it means, that will be known as the rest of the season plays out.