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Thomas Vanek traded to Islanders for Matt Moulson, two draft picks

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Thomas Vanek has been traded to the New York Islanders. The Sabres get Matt Moulson, a first-round pick and a second-round pick in return.

James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Sabres have traded one of their major pieces months before the trade deadline, sending forward Thomas Vanek to the Islanders in exchange for forward Matt Moulson and two draft picks.

The two draft picks are New York's 2014 first-round pick and 2015 second round pick.

Vanek, who has spent his entire career in Buffalo, becomes the latest casualty in Buffalo's rebuilding project. His seven-year, $50 million contract expires this summer, and the Sabres made the most of his value in trading him to the Islanders. New York receives one of the NHL's best scorers, as Vanek has 254 goals and 497 points in eight seasons.

The Islanders paid a steep price for Vanek, however. The 26-year-old Moulson is one of the Isles' best players, having scored over 30 goals in his first three seasons as a pro. Those two high-round picks are costly, as well, but the Islanders are clearly looking to return to the playoffs again after a surprising first-round appearance last summer.