With only a handful of players allowed to be protected from the Vegas Expansion Draft, New York Islanders GM Garth Snow has his work cut out for him. Here is who I think should be on the list that Snow submits at 5:00 PM on Saturday.
We are less than 12 hours from the New York Islanders and the other 29 teams in the NHL from submitting their protection lists for the NHL Expansion Draft. For those who aren’t familiar with the format of the protection list, it is quite simple.
Teams have one of two choices, they can protect seven forwards, three defensemen, and one goalie, or protect eight skaters and one goalie. The kicker is that players that have a No-Movement Clause must be protected while first and second-year players are exempt.
In the case of the New York Islanders, I believe they should choose the option where they can protect eight skaters and one goalie. There is no doubt that this team’s greatest strength is on the blue line and having a strong defense core can be very beneficial (see Nashville Predators).
This is why I would protect the following eight skaters and goaltender.
Even if Tavares didn’t have a No-Move Clause, how do you not protect him? He’s the present and future of this franchise. Everything runs through him on the ice. And there’s a good reason for it.
Ladd also has a No-Movement Clause so he has to be protected. Although if he didn’t, I wouldn’t because of his age and contract. He’s getting paid $5.5 million per year until he turns 37-years-old. He’s only 31 now and only got 31 points.
Lee has been a diamond in the rough for this team and was their second best forward last season. Lee put up a career high in goals (34) and points (52) and seems to have found chemistry with Tavares on the first line.
It’s no lie that Strome has been extremely disappointing after his 50 point campaign in 2014-15. We do know that the potential is there, he did go fifth overall, and hopefully playing under Weight will help him regain that potential.
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Probably the Islanders’ best defenseman and he’s only 26 years old. He’s also locked up for the next five seasons so he is definitely not going anywhere.
*see Andrew Ladd*
Calvin de Haan
de Haan is so undervalued and underappreciated. He’s 26, plays a great defensive game, and finished top five in blocked shots the past two seasons.
Unfortunately, Pulock is not exempt from the expansion draft. I wouldn’t take the risk of exposing a 22-year-old defenseman with a 105mph slap shot. Pulock has tremendous offensive upside and if he can work on his defense, he can be a top-four defenseman for this team for the foreseeable future.
Greiss has given this team his all the past two years and is signed for the next three years. He will be a vital piece to this team as the stopgap until Soderstrom and Sorokin are ready.
As you can see, I left some notable guys exposed like Brock Nelson and Travis Hamonic, but you can’t protect everyone. Hopefully Snow can find a way to make a deal so he doesn’t lose these high value guys for nothing. Believe it or not, this offseason is critical and could end up being franchise altering for the New York Islanders.