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Bruins trade Johnny Boychuk to Islanders for mid-round picks

Bob DeChiara / USA TODAY Sports

New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow was in the market for a defenseman, and landed a big fish (after reportedly closing on another) from a cap strapped team on Saturday:

The deal was later confirmed by the Bruins, who also revealed that the condition on the pick is met "if New York trades Boychuk during the 2014-15 season to an Eastern Conference team."

Johnny Boychuk, 30, is a pending unrestricted free agent and, based on the way the market for defenders played out this summer, was likely to be enormously expensive for the Bruins to retain next season. 

Though the Bruins were unlikely to be able to afford Boychuk beyond this year, he was a key contributor along their blue-line. The right-handed shooting blue-liner managed to score five goals while pitching in 23 points and logging the second most minutes among all Bruins defenders in the 2013-14 campaign. He was also second on the club in even-strength relative shot attempt differential last season.

Boychuk immediately improves the Islanders defense corps significantly and, along with Travis Hamonic, will give New York's other team a formidable one-two punch along the right side of their blue-line.

For the Bruins, this deal clears some cap-space, which they were pressed up against even with Marc Savard set to go on long-term injured reserve early next week. They also recouped three solid draft picks for an aging asset they were unlikely to retain beyond this year.

For the Islanders, on some level, it's a high-priced rental move similar to the deal they made for Thomas Vanek last season. As a result of that misguided transaction the Islanders don't own their first round pick at the 2015 NHL Draft, so they might as well double down. 

The Vanek gamble didn't work for Snow last season, but obviously he hasn't given up on rolling the dice.

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