The last time there was an expansion draft, the New York Islanders made a trade with the Golden Knights to protect exposed players. If you remember, the Isles protected Andrew Ladd, John Tavares, Anders Lee, Johnny Boychuk, Travis Hamonic, Nick Leddy, Adam Pelech, Ryan Pulock, and Thomas Greiss.
That left players like Josh Bailey, Casey Cizikas, Brock Nelson, Ryan Strome, and others available for the taking. Garth Snow decided to move a 2017 first, 2019 2nd, Mikhail Grabovski, and Jake Bischoff in order for the Golden Knights to select JF Berube.
It was a steep price to pay but they would recoup some value two days later when Travis Hamonic was moved for a first, a second, and a conditional second.
This year with the Seattle expansion, I’m not so sure that the Islanders will have the luxury to make a deal to prevent the selection of unprotected players. Jeff Marek said on the 31 Thoughts Podcast that the ask to stay off of an unprotected player is a 1st and a 3rd round pick.
In 2020 the Islanders didn’t have a first-round pick, this year they don’t have a first and the only second they have is from the Devon Toews trade. Would they want to go three years in a row without a first-round pick?
I’d take my chances in the expansion draft, even if it means losing one of Kieffer Bellows, Nick Leddy, or Jordan Eberle. They’re going to need their draft capital to replenish the farm system and to clear off contracts.
Thomas Hickey, Leo Komarov, and Andrew Ladd are all candidates to get moved via trade (with a pick attached) in order to free up space to retain their RFA’s and UFA forward Casey Cizikas.
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As our very own Mitch Anderson told us earlier this week, Lamoriello has only made two trades involving the expansion draft. Don’t expect that number to go up next week.