The Draft Capital
There is nothing wrong with the Islanders valuing Brock Nelson over a couple of draft picks which might or might not pan out. That being said, the trade would certainly look good for the Islanders if neither of the draft picks panned out. The problem is that they both did.
The 2017 first-round draft pick was used to select defenseman Erik Brannstrom. Brannstrom scored 28 points in 41 games with the Golden Knights’ AHL affiliate last year before being traded to Ottawa as the key piece of the package used to acquire Mark Stone. Brannstrom is now the top prospect in the Senators’ organization, and projects to be a central part of the franchise’s future.
Meanwhile, Stone has helped Vegas cement its status as one of the top teams in the Western Conference. He is currently tied for the team lead with 63 points. He has scored more points this season than any Islander, including Nelson. Therefore, keeping Nelson over a pick that could have led to Brannstrom or Stone may no longer seem so great.
The 2019 second-round pick was traded to Detroit as part of the package to acquire Tomas Tatar at the 2018 trade deadline. Tatar helped bolster a Golden Knights team that advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals. The following offseason, the Golden Knights traded Tatar to the Canadiens for Max Pacioretty. Both players are having great seasons and have also scored more points than any Islander.
Finally, that second-round pick was used to select forward Robert Mastrosimone. He is just a freshman at Boston University, yet he has managed 17 points in 31 games. If he ever becomes an NHL talent, then that would just add insult to injury.
Calvin de Haan
One of the players who Snow sought to protect by making this trade was Calvin de Haan. That seemed like a reasonable thing to do because de Haan had played in all 82 games for the Islanders in the previous season and he was a key member of the defense. He had even contributed on offense with 25 points.
Little did Snow know that de Haan would miss 49 games for the Islanders the following season before leaving the team in free agency.
Had the Islanders not made the trade with the Golden Knights, it is possible that the Golden Knights would have selected de Haan in the expansion draft. This would have been great for the Islanders because as it turns out, they essentially lost de Haan for nothing anyway.
There is no guarantee that the Golden Knights would have selected de Haan, but one cannot help wondering what could have been.