On Thursday, the Nashville Predators sent forward Viktor Arvidsson to the Los Angeles Kings for a few picks. The Swedish forward had a down year in 2020-21 but is a two-time 30+ goal scorer and 60 point player. Why couldn’t the New York Islanders match the offer for Arvidsson?
After all, the Kings only had to pay a 2021 second-round pick and 2022 third-round pick to acquire the forward? The Islanders have both of those, why not get in on the trade for a right shot top-six forward?
It all comes down to the expansion draft.
Expansion was the reason New York Islanders weren’t in on Viktor Arvidsson
There’s no doubt that the Islanders could use someone of Arvidsson’s skillset. A right shot 30 goal scorer? Sounds perfect for the Isles. But if we play revisionist history a bit here and say Lou Lamoriello makes the trade, the Islanders are in a very tough situation in regards to the expansion draft and beyond.
With Arvidsson (and the same draft picks going to LA) the Isles protected list would certainly look like this:
- Mathew Barzal
- Anders Lee
- Josh Bailey
- Brock Nelson
- Anthony Beauvillier
- Viktor Arvidsson
- Jean-Gabriel Pageau
- Adam Pelech
- Ryan Pulock
- Scott Mayfield
- Semyon Varlamov
That leaves both Jordan Eberle and Nick Leddy available for selection. Great, right? Well not really. Who says that Seattle wants either of those players? With all due respect to Nick Leddy, NHL teams aren’t busting down Lou Lamoriello’s front door to get him. It’s why Devon Toews was traded in the last offseason.
The same can be said of Eberle. His value is certainly a bit higher than Leddy, but NHL teams aren’t lining up to get him.
And Seattle clearly knows this. Adding Viktor Arvidsson would put the Islanders in a very tough position leading up to the Expansion draft and into the offseason following it if the Kraken don’t select one of Leddy or Eberle.
Acquiring Arvidsson would leave the Isles with $1.536 million in cap space. That’s without re-signing Beauvillier, Pelech, or Sorokin. Or re-signing Casey Cizikas. And that’s with Andrew Ladd and Thomas Hickey buried in the AHL (saving $2.25 million on the cap).
That’s an obvious problem the Islanders can do without as the Kraken prepare to pick apart just about every NHL roster. Nashville needed to make the trade before the expansion draft so Seattle didn’t pick Arvidsson for free.
The Islanders need some flexibility as they approach July 21. By acquiring Arvidsson now, the Isles would give the Kraken an incredible amount of leverage to extract what they want from the Islanders. So if you’re an Islanders fan that wanted Arvidsson know that it just wasn’t in the cards at the moment.