Islanders Expansion Draft Plans Face A New Wrinkle

Jun 22, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Bill Foley walks the red carpet during the 2016 NHL Awards at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 22, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Bill Foley walks the red carpet during the 2016 NHL Awards at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports /

The Vegas Expansion draft is coming, you knew that right? But now there’s a new wrinkle to all this mess. It seems Vegas is now shopping unprotected players to the highest bidder. Maybe the Isles can capitalize.

The new Vegas franchise has finally joined the big boy table with the New York Islanders and the rest of the 29 teams in the league. And almost immediately they threw a wrench in everyone’s plans.

In Elliotte Friedman’s 30 thoughts the other day he mentioned the following regarding the Vegas Golden Knights new found status:

"1. Initially, the plan was to give Las Vegas 48 hours with the protected list before the expansion draft. That is being increased to 72. At the GM meetings, the Golden Knights’ George McPhee let everyone know that once the lists are handed to him, it’s an auction for any unprotected player another team might want. This has outstanding potential."

Not only do teams have to worry about the Golden Knights plucking one of their players but the other teams in the league wanting Vegas to pluck one of their players.

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Do the Isles Have to Worry?

At an extent sure they just might have to worry. They have a number of assets that might be desirable by a number of teams.

But after a quick run through’s expansion draft tool and the few names that are left on the board, unprotected don’t strike me as likely bidding way candidates. And if they were, then it’s a win through subtraction for the Isles.

Forwards: Kulemin, Clutterbuck, Chimera, Prince
Defense: Hickey
Goalies: Halak, Berube, Gibson

Do any of those names strike you like they’d be a big loss for the Islanders? Sure, Kulemin has been fantastic on that third and fourth line role. But that $4.187 million contract would be sure nice to get off the books.

And Clutterbuck is a perfect third/fourth line player with a deep reciprocal connection with the Islanders. Losing him would be a sad moment. But if that means keeping Lee or Bailey or even Ryan Strome I’m all for it.

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Can Isles Go Fishing?

Absolutely they can. The Isles have a need in a number of departments, just like most teams. They also have a number of assets that they can ship to make it happen.

Look, at this point, Matt Murray is very much available to the highest bidder. Marc-Andre Fleury is still on the Penguins roster and holds a firm No-Trade Clause. Sure, he can still move before the draft. But he hasn’t yet. A Matt Murray-Thomas Greiss duo would certainly look pretty well.

Maybe the Blackhawks with their eight no-move clauses to worry about leave a forward exposed like Ryan Hartman? Although at this point thinking the Blackhawks ‘slip-up’ seems improbable.

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Either way what this little change turns the tables on the poacher v. poachee scenario. Vegas can leverage its position at the draft to get other teams the players they want for a fair price. I can’t wait for June!