Protecting the Unprotected
The main benefit from this trade was that the Golden Knights agreed to not select one of the Islanders top unprotected players. There is a case to be made that a player like Brock Nelson was worth at least a first-round and second-round pick. In that argument, keeping Nelson would be more valuable than keeping those two draft picks.
It is fair to say that now, Nelson has been worth at least that draft capital, as he has turned into a five-time 20-goal scorer. Given that the Islanders just parted with that exact draft capital to acquire the less offensively-gifted Jean-Gabriel Pageau, it is likely that Nelson has been worth even more.
A similar case could be made for Ryan Strome. Although Strome never amounted to much with the Islanders, he was traded to the Oilers for Jordan Eberle just one day after the Vegas trade. Given how Eberle has performed alongside Mat Barzal and Anders Lee on the top line, he has probably been worth at least a first-round and second-round pick.
Even Josh Bailey has been worth those picks. As the longest-tenured Islander and an alternate captain, Bailey has served as a mentor for some of the team’s younger players. Not to mention, Bailey has put up some solid offensive numbers including a 71-point season in 2017-18.
Unimpressive Resumes From Those Traded
The other major positive from the trade was that neither of the three players who the Islanders ultimately sent to the Golden Knights turned into much.
Affected by a lingering concussion, Mikhail Grabovski never played a game in the NHL again after he was traded to the Golden Knights. He officially announced his retirement last June.
Meanwhile, Jake Bischoff is currently playing for the Golden Knights’ AHL affiliate. Bischoff played four games this season with the Golden Knights, earning a negative two plus/minus and failing to record a single point. He has not played much better in the AHL this year, scoring just nine points in 49 games and registering a negative 13 plus/minus.
Finally, J.F. Berube never even made it onto the Golden Knights’ roster. He played 13 less than stellar games with the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2017-18 season and recorded a 3.78GAA. He currently plays for the AHL affiliate of the New York Rangers.
Salary Cap Relief
The Islanders also got $5 million in salary cap relief by trading Grabovski’s contract. This relief helped the Islanders take on Eberle’s contract in the Oiler trade.
The Islanders must have felt good to not have to pay $5 million to a player who would never play in another NHL game.