New York Islanders Expansion Will Force a Major Trade
The New York Islanders were quiet at the NHL trade deadline last week. However, it is extremely unlikely that will be the case this June. Reason being, expansion will force a major trade in June.
If the NHL expansion draft were held today, the New York Islanders would lose a very valuable player. Every NHL team must choose to protect either seven forwards, three defensemen, and one goalie or eight skaters and one net minder.
Because of the Islanders depth and no-movement clauses, Garth Snow would have to expose either Ryan Strome (12G, 28Pts) or Ryan Pulock (12G, 33Pts, 37GP in AHL). If the Isles protect four defensemen (Pulock being one of them) than Strome will be exposed in the expansion. If the blue and orange go the seven forwards – three defenseman route then Pulock will be exposed.
If either of these scenarios were to happen, take it to the bank, Vegas general manager George McPhee will take one of the Ryan’s. In the summer on the Vegas Hockey Podcast, McPhee stated he really liked Pulock.
Both players are young, have a lot of potential, and currently are at friendly salary cap numbers. This would be a no-brainier selection for McPhee.
New York Islanders
Trade in June
There is no way Garth Snow can let either Pulock or Strome leave via expansion. When the short trade window opens up in the NHL between the end of the Stanley Cup Finals and the expansion draft, the Islanders will be one of the teams very involved.
While the Islanders were unable to pull off a deal at the deadline, they were trying to make a significant move. The talk was they were focusing in on Matt Duchene of the Avalanche and Tyler Johnson of the Lightning.
The Islanders match up well in a trade with both Colorado and Tampa thanks to their blue line depth and their prospect pipeline.
Duchene would be more expensive than Johnson. So far this year the 26-year old center has 16 goals and 36 points. Duchene is signed for two more years with a $6 million dollar cap hit. He becomes an unrestricted free agent following the 2018-19 season.
Johnson is also 26 and so far this season has 19 goals and 43 points. His current cap number is $3.33 million but he becomes a restricted free agent at the end of this season. Johnson will most likely land a cap number between $5-$5.5 million this off-season.
Expansion aside, the Islanders need another dynamic offensive player to center their second line. The expansion draft should force the issue.
Make a Deal with Vegas?
There is the possibility the Islanders could make a side deal with the Golden Knights so they don’t lose either Strome or Pulock. Make no illusions, however, the price would not be cheap and the Islanders would lose valuable assets just in order to keep certain players.
Such a trade most likely would be a combination of a high draft pick (2nd rounder?) and a strong prospect. Then the Islanders would lose a player in expansion in addition. The likely candidates would be either Calvin de Haan or Josh Bailey.
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This is not the route the Islanders should pursue. This June, it will be time for Snow to get a major deal done. He has no choice.