1999 – Atlanta Thrashers
Another year another new team. The ’90s saw the league grow by seven teams in ten years. It was a wild expansion. Another team meant another expansion draft.
- David Harlock (D)
Harlock played 70 games for the Isles in 1998-99, his biggest stint in the league of his career to date. The Thrashers liked what they saw and picked him. He’d play with Atlanta for three years playing 128 games and scoring eight points (all assists).
The stay at home defender was there to stabilize the back end even if it was on the bottom pair. I wouldn’t say he achieved it, but I also wouldn’t blame him for it. The Thrashers just weren’t a well-run club and aren’t in the league anymore because of it.
2000 – Columbus Blue Jackets & Minnesota Wild
We sometimes forget how rapidly the NHL expanded from 1991 to 2000. They added nine teams, that’s nearly a third of the league. With two teams entering the league the Isles lost two players.
- Ian Herbers (D) – Minnesota Wild
- Ted Drury (D) – Columbus Blue Jackets
Herbers would never step on the ice for the Thrashers. He’d play in the UK by the 2001-02 season. Drury played a single game for the Columbus Blue Jackets. He skated 14:44 in 7-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on October 9, 2000. Ziggy Palffy picked up three points that night (1G, 2A).
2017 – Vegas Golden Knights
After all that expansion between 91 and 2000, the NHL didn’t grow for another 17 years. The protection rules were changed. The NHL didn’t want this new team to be a laughing stock, they wanted them to be competitive off the hop.
And they were. The Islanders only helped the Knights become successful indirectly:
- Jean-Francois Berube (G)
The Islanders had a ton of good options available to be drafted. Guys like Josh Bailey, Brock Nelson, Calvin de Haan, and Jaroslav Halak. But GM Garth Snow made a side deal with the Knights to keep them away from his valuable assets.
The Golden Knights were given a 2017 1st round pick, a 2019 2nd round pick, Mikhail Grabovsky, and prospects Jake Bishoff.
It’s a huge price to pay for sure. Was it the right call? Probably. But with those draft assets, the Golden Knights were able to trade for Tomas Tatar at the 2018 trade deadline and Mark Stone at the 2019 trade deadline.
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So, looking back the Islanders didn’t give up a stud player. I know many of you might say: “well the rules didn’t suit expansion teams between 1974 and 2000” but the Isles were able to find guys like Billy Smith and Ed Westfall in 1972.