The protected lists are out. We know who the New York Islanders are protecting from the Seattle Kraken and the group of players the NHL’s 32nd team can select from on July 21.
But that still doesn’t tell us who the Kraken will actually select in the expansion draft. The fact that Eberle and Bailey are available seems to indicate the Kraken could take either of them, but who knows because the Isles could still make a move to sway Seattle to pick someone else.
New York Islanders can still strike a deal with Seattle Kraken
You might be thinking: “isn’t there a roster freeze? Aren’t teams unable to trade until after the expansion trade?” And you’re right. Kind of. Thirty-one of the 32 teams can’t make trades, but the Seattle Kraken are free to make deals.
Lou Lamoriello could keep Seattle from selecting either Eberle or Bailey so long as he meets their price to do so. Apparently, that cost isn’t cheap.
But maybe that price is fine for Lou? He’s already traded away two firsts to push for a cup. What’s a third? And a third-round pick is certainly of no consequence for Lou.
We know that the Isles GM wants to keep his core intact and both Eberle and Bailey are very much part of that core. Eberle is the top line RW while Bailey is Barry Trotz’s swiss army knife that is used throughout the top nine.
Bailey is also first in post-season production since 2018-19 with 39 points in 49 games. Eberle is fourth with 34 points in the same 49 games.
Losing either for free doesn’t sound like something Lou Lamoriello wants to do. If he’s OK losing them for free he would have offloaded them prior to today like he did with Nick Leddy.
Which leads me and probably you as well, to think that a deal with Seattle might be on the table.
I’m not suggesting that Lou absolutely made deal with Seattle, but this seems like the type of situation where the veteran GM would make a trade to keep his team (that’s gone to back-to-back) semi-finals intact.
And if we learned anything over the past few days is that Lou has a way of bringing the price down. No one saw him moving Ladd let alone for two seconds (and maybe a third two years from now).