In their second move of trade deadline day, the Sharks flipped impending unrestricted free agent forward Tyler Kennedy to the New York Islanders for a conditional 2016 third-round draft pick. Kennedy was fifth on the team in Corsi For% and fourth in 5-on-5 points per minute this season, enjoying an encouraging if injury-riddled bounceback season after an inconsistent debut year in teal.
Tyler Kennedy traded to the New York Islanders for a conditional pick— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) March 2, 2015
Apart from a potential Antti Niemi trade, Kennedy will be the best player the Sharks move today and in a sense it's a shame they didn't just re-sign the 28-year-old rather than trade him for a fairly insubstantial return. Rebuilding teams need real NHL players too, as one look at the Edmonton Oilers can tell you, and Kennedy is one of the better bottom-six forwards in the league and should continue to be for some time. He's excellent in the neutral zone, isn't afraid to put the puck on net and can drive play with any combination of linemates. He can't finish if his life depended on it and that fact combined with some of his defensive-zone turnovers likely soured Todd McLellan on the player, whom McLellan scratched for all seven games of the Sharks' first-round series against Los Angeles last spring.
But a fourth-line winger who helps you win the shot battle on a nightly basis and keeps the puck out of your defensive zone is exponentially more valuable than the kinds of players the Sharks have trotted out in that role in recent years like John Scott, Mike Brown and Adam Burish. Still, at least the Sharks were able to continue shipping out guys they had no intention of re-signing for assets, although it's unclear what exactly the conditions on the third rounder are.