If the New York Islanders don’t sign Blade Jenkins by June 1, 2020 they could lose him.
In the 2018 NHL draft, the New York Islanders drafted forward Blade Jenkins in the fifth round with 134th overall pick. Jenkins put up 44 points in 68 games during his draft year. Prior to his draft, Jenkins was ranked 26th overall for North American skaters by the NHL.
Just for reference, the 25th overall North American skater Ty Dellandrea and 27th overall Jack Drury were drafted 13th overall and 42nd overall, respectively. So Jenkins fell quite a bit at the draft.
Over the two years since being drafted, Jenkins has put up better numbers than in 2018. Last season, Jenkins put up 59 points in 67 games. In a 2019-20 cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic Jenkins had 40 points in 47 games, putting him on pace for 58 points.
Unlike Saginaw Spirit teammate and fellow 2018 New York Islanders draft pick Bode Wilde, Jenkins is without an NHL contract. And if the Islanders don’t sign him by June 1 they could lose him.
If the Islanders don’t sign Jenkins to a contract by June 1 they will lose his NHL rights and Jenkins would then become an unrestricted free agent.
Typically, players, like Jenkins, who were drafted but go unsigned two years later and are under 20 years old by the draft are once again eligible for the draft. But, with the COVID-19 pandemic delaying the current and future NHL calendar Jenkins could very well be 20 by the time of the draft and become a UFA.
This of course, would only happen if the New York Islanders don’t sign Jenkins before the June 1 deadline.
The New York Islanders were in this position just last season. Arnaud Durandeau, a 2017 draft pick, was without a contract heading towards June 1, 2019. But on May 31, the Isles signed Durandeau to a three-year ELC with a $756,667 NHL cap hit.
So just like last year, the Islanders are facing a question on whether they want to sign a prospect to an entry-level deal or face losing him.
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I have to believe that the Islanders will sign the young forward to some sort of entry-level deal and join Saginaw Spirits teammate Bode Wilde, and perhaps even teammate and Isles 2019 draft pick Cole Coskey in the Isles system.