Islanders: Getting Ready for 2021 Seattle Expansion Draft
Protected list: 7-3-1
Forwards: Mathew Barzal, Anthony Beauvillier, Brock Nelson, Josh Bailey, Anders Lee, Jordan Eberle, Casey Cizikas
After Beau and Barzal, it’s a laundry list of veterans. Lee, Bailey, Nelson, and Eberle will all be between the ages of 29 and 31 years old by the draft. Bailey will be the oldest at 31 and eight months old by the expansion draft.
Barzal will in all likely hood have a no-move clause in his next deal and will have to be auto-protected. If Anthony Beauvillier is the same player he is today he should certainly be protected.
I protected Nelson, Bailey, Lee, and Eberle. Nelson is a two-way center that is invaluable in Barry’s set up. Lee is the captain and the beating hear of this team, it would be particularly ruthless to let him leave in the expansion draft. And Bailey is the swiss-army-knife/elite winger most of us love.
I kept Jordan Eberle on the protected list. If he can get back to his 20-25 goals and 50-60 point production then there’s no reason to leave him off the list. If he can’t then there’s an argument to be made for not protecting him.
I kept Casey Cizikas here. The Islanders love his two-way play and the way he kills penalties. He’s out of contract at the end of the 2020-21 season but I’m sure the Isles re-sign him and protect him.
Defense: Ryan Pulock, Adam Pelech, Devon Toews
Picking three defensemen has it’s own challenges for the Islanders. Their six-man d-core is the best in the league for the second year in a row now.
Ryan Pulock is Barry’s number one and at 26 and eight months by the draft he’ll still be in his prime. Adam Pelech is Barry’s clear number two and has turned into one of the better defense-first blueliners in the league.
The third player is Devon Toews. He’s getting better at playing in his own end, but it’s his ability to get the puck going forward and to create offense that makes him so valuable.
That leaves Scott Mayfield and Nick Leddy from the Isles d-core left un-protected. (Noah Dobson won’t count for the expansion draft). You’d have to think that Seattle would take either if given the option. Nick Leddy will only be 30 and could still be worth that $5.5 million cap hit.
Goalie: Semyon Varlamov
If Ilya Sorokin is here he won’t need to be protected. Semyon Varlamov would be the only reasonable option to protect. Assuming Thomas Greiss is playing in another market of course.