With two years to go until the Seattle expansion draft, let’s see how the New York Islanders are positioned to deal with the second expansion in four years.
The Seattle expansion draft isn’t too far away. In 2021 the NHL’s newest team from the west coast will be able to pick a single player from the New York Islanders and the other 29 teams in the NHL. Vegas, on account of being new, will be exempt from the draft. Even though they will have been around for four years.
I was inspired to write this by Daniel Nugent-Bowman and Jonathan Willis of the Athletic who looked at the Edmonton Oilers readiness for the Seattle expansion draft (subscription required).
Just over two years ago, the Islanders protected eight skaters and a goalie. Of the eight skaters, three were forwards: John Tavares (NMC), Andrew Ladd (NMC), and Anders Lee. For defensemen, they protected Johnny Boychuk (NMC), Nick Leddy, Travis Hamonic, Ryan Pulock, and Adam Pelech. The one goalie they protected was Thomas Greiss.
That left players like Josh Bailey, Brock Nelson, Casey Cizikas, Ryan Strome, Calvin de Haan, Scott Mayfield, and Thomas Hickey available for Vegas to draft. It was a lot of quality for Vegas to pick from, so the Isles traded away Mikhail Grabovski‘s contract along with Jake Bishoff, a first-round pick in 2017 and a second-round pick in 2019 so George McPhee and the Vegas Golden Knights would select goalie Jean-Francois Bérubé.
With the Seattle draft, the rules will be the same. Teams can protect either seven forwards, three defensemen, and a goalie, or they can protect any combination of skaters and one goalie.
Players with no-move clauses at the time of the draft must also be protected. First and second-year pros will not count towards protection lists.
If you want to read the full rules, you can read them here.
Looking at who the Islanders have on the roster now how what is the best option to take and what will they need to consider when 2021 rolls around? So, like Nugent-Bowman and Willis, I wanted to look at how the Isles would fill their protected lists in either situation.