Believe it or not, the New York Islanders have to start preparing for the 2021 Expansion Draft. The Isles have issues regarding the upcoming 2021 Seattle expansion.
The New York Islanders will have several options when it comes to dealing with the 2021 Expansion Draft. But it appears the expansion price is going to hurt the Islanders in some capacity.
The new expansion protection rules hurt deep teams the most. A team can either protect seven forwards, three defensemen, and one goalie or eight skaters and one net minder (players with two years of NHL experience or less are exempt from the expansion draft).
We saw from the Vegas expansion draft how the Golden Knights got well from teams with depth in the Islanders, Minnesota Wild, Florida Panthers, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Pittsburgh Penguins.
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The Isles are in a similar predicament again.
Isles Potential Protection List
When looking at the current Isles roster there is no doubt they would have an issue if the expansion draft was held today.
If the Isles were to decide to go the eight skaters format, they would protect four defensemen and four forwards. The four forwards that would be protected would be Mathew Barzal, Brock Nelson, J.G Pageau, and Anthony Beauvillier. That would mean the Isles captain Anders Lee would be exposed. That is not going to happen.
Looking at the potential scenarios come the 2021 expansion draft and the Isles are going to lose a good defenseman. Unless of a course a deal can be made with Seattle.
Trade with Seattle?
In the Vegas expansion draft, the Isles had a similar issue and then GM Garth Snow worked out a trade with the Golden Knights. Vegas took J.F Berube as the Isles expansion selection along with Mikhail Grabovski and his $5 million salary-cap hit. However, the Isles had to cough up their 2017 first-round pick along with their 2019 second-round pick (and prospect Jake Bischoff) to make that deal happen.
That first-round pick in 2017 was the 15th overall selection and Vegas took defenseman Erik Brannstrom. Brannstrom has emerged as one of the better prospects in the league, so much as he was the principal player sent to Ottawa to bring Mark Stone to Vegas. The Isles 2019 second-round pick (54th overall) winded up in Detroit (part of the Tomas Tatar trade) and the Red Wings selected forward Robert Mastrosimone.
Yes, a trade is a possibility to protect the Isles’ current roster but it’s going to be costly in terms of future assets. Keep in mind as of now the Islanders do not have a first or second-round pick in next month’s Draft (Pageau trade) and do not have a second-round pick in the 2021 Draft (Andy Greene trade). Do the Isles want to trade more high draft picks in the near future?
Given where the Isles roster is regarding next year’s expansion draft this could be a consideration for Lamoriello when it comes to moves made this offseason.