That makes sense. I was always under the impression he pleaded with them not to trade him and that he had indicated a desire to stay. I suppose without a signed contract, they should have done what was best for their organization.
If it’s true that he specifically asked not to be traded, though, that seems to me a bit disingenuous. If there was any doubt he would re-sign, he should have kept his mouth shut. It handcuffs a GM to an extent, makes them look like the bad guy for trading away a player that “wanted to stay”.
Still, he got millions from the Islanders and would have gotten more from them. I doubt he was completely oblivious to what the market would look like for his talents so to act like he only left the Islanders because Toronto came calling is a bit of an eye-roll. I don’t think he had any intent to stay and any indication otherwise that factored into the Islanders’ (admittedly poor) decision to hold onto him pass the deadline was pretty bad form.
Yeah, at the end of the day, it’s on management for the fact that they got nothing but it doesn’t change the fact that the reasons he left - to win a Cup and be a hometown savior - blew up in his face this year. The future doesn’t look as bright in TO now that the experiment didn’t produce the magic they hoped for and they’re in the same spot they were last year.
So, like I said, I think golfing looks good on him.