Islanders next move: Sign defenseman to expose in expansion draft

Lou Lamoriello of the New York Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Lou Lamoriello of the New York Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The New York Islanders have moved Nick Leddy. On Friday, Leddy was sent to the Detroit Red Wings for Richard Panik (with 50% of his AAV held by the Red Wings) and a 2021 second-round pick. A good return for shedding Leddy’s contract and making some $4 million+ in cap space.

Creating that cap space was item number one on Lou Lamoriello’s offseason checklist. But now he needs to move on to item number two; navigate the expansion draft. And the Nick Leddy trade makes that a bit more complicated

New York Islanders need to sign a defenseman

For the expansion draft, the Islanders need to expose at least one defenseman who played at least 27 NHL games in 20-21 or 54 games over the past two seasons and is signed through next season.

As it stands right now, the Islanders only have two players that fit that criteria; Ryan Pulock and Scott Mayfield.

As you know both need to be protected from the Seattle Kraken expansion draft. Both are necessary pieces for the Islanders blue line going forward.

Pulock is the team’s top guy on both sides of the puck while Mayfield is the team’s top PK specialist and third on the RHD depth chart. Mayfield also carries that wildly valuable $1.45 million cap hit for the next two seasons.

Exposing either just isn’t going to happen.

That means the Isles need to sign a defenseman for 2021-22 and has played at least 40 games in 20-21.

The easy answer is to re-sign Andy Greene and expose him. And usually, the easy answer is the right one. The Kraken won’t likely take the 38-year-old, and he won’t be expensive on the cap either.

That contract has to be filed by tomorrow at 3 PM or else the contract won’t get in before the rosters freeze. Expect it to come in soon.