The New York Islanders exposed two players for this upcoming expansion draft who are making over $5 million apiece in Jordan Eberle and Josh Bailey. It’s debatable or not if the Islanders would be better off losing these players in expansion or having them stick on the roster.
On the one side, it clears cap space and a contract of $5 million or more a year for a 30+ year old over the next three years. Yet, at the same time, the team would be losing a player in their top-six.
Looking at the most recent expansion draft, I wanted to see how many players were taken with a “high cap number”. For the exercise, I lowered the cap number to $4 million because at the time the cap was $75 million for the 2017-2018 season. For reference, $4 million is 5.3% of the cap which would equate to a contract worth $4.35 million or more with today’s cap number.
Here are the 3 players that fit that description for Vegas:
James Neal – $5 million cap hit
James Neal was in the final year of his contract that was paying him $5 million a year coming off a 41 point season. In his lone season with Vegas, he was fairly solid with the Golden Knights putting up 25 goals and 44 points before his production began to go.
Mark Methot – $4.9 million cap hit
Yes, this one still counts, even though he was on the team for like five days. Vegas flipped him to Dallas the following week for a second and prospect Dylan Ferguson. While he never played for Vegas they still took him and flipped him for an asset. Methot had two years left on his deal also, by the way.
Marc-Andre Fleury – $5.75 million cap hit
Vegas landed their starter selecting Marc-Andre Fleury with two years remaining on his deal. He’d also get another contract from Vegas paying him $7 million over three seasons.
With only three of 30 players who were selected fitting the description, that would put it at a 10% chance. Granted, there’s no way to know if Seattle shares the same philosophy as Vegas and which teams will trade for side deals but the chances seem on the low side that an “expensive” player gets selected.
There is absolutely a world where Seattle goes on the cheap and takes Kieffer Bellows, who is an RFA. Hopefully, that eases your mind if you were worried about losing Eberle or Bailey.