Shne Prince was definitely on the margins of the New York Islanders offensive depth chart this season. And next season doesn’t look like its going to get any better. Going to Vegas in the expansion draft would be a blessing in disguise.
The general consensus around the New York Islanders and the expansion draft is that they will lose a defenseman. It’s probably going to be Calvin de Haan, although a case for Thomas Hickey could be argued.
But what if Vegas takes a forward?
Let’s assume the Isles protect all of Johnny Boychuk, Nick Leddy and Ryan Pulock on the defensive end. In terms of forwards, they protect John Tavares and Andrew Ladd because they have to. And add Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, Ryan Strome and Casey Cizikas.
That leaves NHL regulars like Travis Hamonic and the aforementioned Hickey and de Haan exposed. (And Seidenberg, but we all know Vegas isn’t going to draft someone that might retire next season).
The Golden Knights might have all their nine defensemen earmarked already and might need some proven, cheap and young forward depth options. Like Prince.
New York Islanders
What He Gives
He’s coming off a career year with 18 points in 50 games. That’s a 30 point pace over the course of the entire season.
He’s signed until the 2017-18 season with a crazy low $850,000 cap hit. And he’s only 24-years-old. Meaning he’s still got two years of RFA status after his current deal expires.
Prince is a great third line player for a team like Vegas. It’s where he spent the majority of his two years with the Islanders. But with the number of young prospects not only challenging for a roster spot, but likely getting one, Prince might be better suited going elsewhere.
Without even considering the expansion draft, look how the Islanders roster is likely going to shake out for the forwards.
Joshua Ho-Sang is already almost guaranteed a roster spot after what he demonstrated at the end of last season. Mathew Barzal already earned a spot in 2016-17, getting another one in 2017-18 seems like a safe bet.
Playing on the second line together with Anthony Beauvillier pushes down players like Ryan Strome, Andrew Ladd and Brock Nelson to the third.
Prince could be a fourth-line player, but the Isles already have Casey Cizikas, Cal Clutterbuck, and Nikolai Kulemin locked into those roles. And he doesn’t have the production to warrant a second line role let alone a top line role.
So where does he go? A healthy scratch? Sure. Someone’s bound to get injured at some point in the year. But that’s no way make a career. Ask Jean-Francois Berube.
Being drafted by Vegas is the best option for Shane Prince. With the New York Islanders, he’d be guaranteed a spot in the press box at best.