With the Stanley Cup being awarded last night, the 2021 season has come to a close. The offseason is officially here. And just like every other team, the New York Islanders have a lot to do this offseason.
This offseason is going to be particularly busy with an expansion draft, entry draft, and free agency all with a week of one another. With so much going on when these events take place might have eluded most of us. So, to get us all prepped, here are the important dates for the 2021 offseason.
New York Islanders 2021 offseason critical dates calendar
Remember, with a truncated season that was pushed back a bit, the offseason calendar looks quite different from a regular one. Usually, free agency is well over by the time this post was written, but free agency is still weeks away.
With that in mind here are all the important dates you should remember for this offseason:
- July 8: Buyout period begins
- July 17: Expansion draft protected lists must be submitted to NHL
- July 18: Seattle receives protected lists
- Exclusive RFA/UFA (not on protected lists) negotiation period begins for Seattle
- July 21: Seattle Expansion Draft
- July 23: NHL Entry Draft: Round 1
- July 24: NHL Entry Draft: Rounds 2-7
- July 26: Deadline for clubs to submit qualifying offers for RFAs
- July 27: Buyout period ends
- RFAs can begin listening to offer sheets
- July 28: Free agency opens for RFAs and UFAs
I don’t expect the Islanders to use the buyout period that begins today. I know Islanders fans want Andrew Ladd‘s contract to go away but a buyout won’t help in that regard at all.
In just ten days Lou Lamoriello has to submit his protected list for the Seattle expansion draft. It’s widely expected to be a 7-3-1 format with the following players protected:
- Forwards: Barzal, Lee, Pageau, Nelson, Beauvillier, Bailey*, Cizikas*
- Defensemen: Pelech, Pulock, Mayfield
- Goalie: Varlamov
The last two forwards are where you’ll find variation. Some have Jordan Eberle protected over Josh Bailey and Kieffer Bellows over Casey Cizikas. It’s clear that Nick Leddy will be exposed and maybe even drafted by Seattle.
Day one of the entry draft might not matter to Islanders fans with no first-round picks on the board, but a trade may happen or perhaps a top prospect falls to the second round, and closer to where the Islanders are selecting 59th overall.
And then just four days later, the final event is free agency. That’s three premier events in the NHL calendar in the span of seven days. Personally, I can’t wait.