The NHL expansion draft results were infused throughout the NHL awards tonight. Fans of all the NHL teams waited to see who was lost from their team and what trades went down. The first thing to consider was who was on your teams protected list. And who was not.
The New York Islanders Protected list looked like this:
Ladd, Lee, Tavares, Boychuk, Hamonic, Leddy, Pelech, Pulock, Greiss. That’s 3 forwards, 5 D and a goalie not named Halak. As discussed, Vegas could select up to one player from each of the 30 NHL teams.
Isles Twitter went nuts after that list was released over the weekend. Pelech! Pelech over de Haan! But as the days passed, and rumors swelled, it seemed Garth Snow may come out of this week looking a little smooth with the moves he apparently put in motion. With so many fans ready to storm the gates already, it was something a lot of us needed to see and process going into next season. That included John Tavares I assume, who is now rumored to be willing to enter next season without an extension, to see how things really start to come together.
Back to those rumors starting last weekend:
Later on Saturday, Darren Dreger made it worse (or better), “…Snow is in a number of conversations, hoping to land a top 6 forward. Team to watch.”
“Montreal and the Islanders tell me they're done for the day. Potentially, two big players next week.”
Buzz of the Islanders in talks with Montreal for Alex Galchenyuk broke the surface prior to the trade freeze last Saturday at 3 p.m. Couple that with the ever-present Duchene, Eberle and even Landeskog rumors, and fans were calming down a little at the possibilities of adding this level of talent to the team. The fears of what it would cost the Islanders to land players of these calibers were also prominent. Players like Hamonic, Hickey, de Haan, Cizikas and Bailey were just a few being talked about. It was just a matter of time to see how all of these things started to shake out.
George McPhee and the Vegas Golden Knights were permitted to start dealing w teams during the freeze. In the expansion format, there was nothing keeping McPhee from taking “bribes” from the other 30 teams to “protect” and/or steer Vegas into selecting players of their choice in the Expansion Draft. I also expected teams could say, “Hey I like that guy from their unprotected list. If you were to select him, we’d give you X.” I also assumed the side deals would be many. Pierre LeBrun mentioned, “My understanding is that VGK have secured via trades about 10 draft picks spread out over 3 years. So far anyway. Plus there are deals for players and three-way trades VGK also involved in. Some revealed tonight. Others tomorrow.”
Rumors from all-over had Garth Snow and the Islanders giving up the 15th pick and a player/prospect to be named later to Vegas so they would select Nikolay Kulemin, and/or perhaps take on the remaining salary of injured, Mikhail Grabovski. It also sounded like it was intended to “protect” other exposed forwards from being selected. This would enable the Islanders to free up to a possible $9M of cap space to pursue “prime” target acquisitions in the coming weeks, protect valued assets and move players they felt were movable. McPhee has a history with Snow, being his first agent during his playing days and serving as an advisor prior to landing the GM role with Vegas. Don’t forget that the Cap range will go from $55.4M to a ceiling of $75M for next season.
The players protected or the bribes paid were most likely part of a master plan. Snow has a list of players to keep, shed and possibly dangle as the team tries to upgrade for next season. Those players kept away from the grasp of Vegas could be kept, or be put in-play for big trades to follow. And who really knows how many moving parts this plan really has until it reveals itself. Trade scenarios are often evolving, depending on who may come into and out of the market at the time of choosing. The trade dominos will start to fall on Thursday morning, but the real picture will Start to take shape after the first few days on free agency, starting July 1st.
Here’s what actually went down on Wednesday night at the expansion draft for the Islanders:
This afternoon, Bob McKenzie stated the Isles expansion deal with Vegas was the Isles 1st round pick this year (15th overall) AND often injured, Mikhail Grabovski ($5M hit for this season) to have Vegas select UFA, JF Berube as the player claimed from New York. The Isles will also send Vegas their 2nd round selection in 2019 and D prospect Jake Bischoff. A price well worth the extra that Snow paid for the Isles to look ahead to the NHL Entry Draft and open to Free Agency.
Garth Snow did some maneuvering to free up significant cap space held by Grabovski and to off load JF Berube, an unrestricted free agent who was not getting resigned for the upcoming season anyway to Vegas. This is a great first step for Snow who is rumored to have more things drop over the next few days with most assets in tact. Isles country will be paying attention after the trade freeze is lifted at 8 a.m. tomorrow. That’s for sure.
The other news to come out of Vegas were the new Adidas Jersey reveal for all 31 teams next season. The New York Islanders kept their traditional look mostly intact. The only differences I saw were a more ornate collar on each version and a blue ring around the logo on the white jersey. They look pretty nice.
The Islanders will strt off in Columbus on October 6th with their 2017-18 home opener is against the Buffalo Sabers on Saturday, October 7th at 7 p.m. Full schedule will be released tomorrow, 6/22.
Jack Capuano was rumored to be in line for an assistant coaching position with the Sabers. Stay tuned.
Travis Hamonic is the 2017 NHL Foundation Player Award winner.
Per Greg Wyshynski, “NHL says we'll have 24-26 teams with @adidas third jerseys for 2018-19 season. Some old designs, some completely new.”
The Belmont Park redevelopment will be on the agenda for a public hearing in July.
Per NY Post, “The owners of the New York Islanders have been trying to sell a minority stake in the NHL club for months — but have not had any luck, The Post has learned. The owners, Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin, are looking to sell a 15 percent stake at a $500 million valuation, three sources close to the situation said.”
Per B.D. Gallof, “minority investor story: All about cash infusion: if new arena materializes will need $ as revenue takes massive hit in Bridge years.”
Per Renaud Lavoie, “Alexei Yashin is in Vegas. Could get involved with the Golden Knights as a minority owner.”
Sound Tigers Notes:
Travis St. Denis will return on an AHL deal in 2017-18.
Travis St. Denis will return on an AHL deal in 2017-18.
Kyle Okposo could be ready for Sabres Camp.