It’s every general manager’s least favorite part of expanding, the expansion draft. Every team must give up at least one player to the newly added Seattle Krakens. Sadly, with a New York Islanders team full of young and bright forwards, one of the more experienced players will get the ax. Here are my predictions for who will be left exposed for the Krakens to sweep up.
Managers are only allowed to either protect seven forwards, three defensemen, and one goalie, or eight skaters and one goalie. The Islanders will choose to protect more skaters. The NHL also states that if a player has a no-trade clause, and refuses to waive the clause, the team must protect that skater. All first and second-year players, along with unsigned draft picks, will be protected and won’t count to the protection limit number. Players who have had a career or season-ending injury may not be selected unless the NHL approves the selection. Teams can also make trades to sway the team from choosing a specific player.
Lou Lamoriello must protect the captain Anders Lee, the star Mat Barzal, the up-and-coming Anthony Beauvillier; the newly acquire J.G. Pageau, the goal-scoring Brock Nelson, and the two-way star Casey Cizikas. This leaves one spot left for an established forward. This spot will be given to either Josh Bailey or Jordan Eberle. Lou Lamoriello will protect Jordan Eberle over Josh Bailey. Eberle is just a better goal scorer and a better fit for the Islanders than Bailey is. Even though Josh Bailey has been with the Islanders for over 12 years now, Lamoriello will choose to protect Eberle. The Islanders must be glad that they don’t have to protect Kieffer Bellows or Oliver Wahlstrom.
Ryan Pulock and Adam Pelech are the obvious choices of who to protect. This leaves one spot left for the remaining defensemen. I believe Devon Toews will take up that last spot. Scott Mayfield is a candidate to take that last spot, but his consistency in taking penalties in the last 5 minutes is harmful to the team. Again, the Islanders must be glad that they don’t have to protect Noah Dobson.
Since the Islanders don’t have to protect Ilya Sorokin, Seymon Varlamov will be protected. There’s no other goalie who should or even could be protected on the team. This depends on if the Islanders choose to sign a UFA goalie this offseason. I don’t believe Lamoriello will waste money on a position he won’t have to worry about for at least the next ten years.
The Seattle Krakens will gain a solid two-way forward in Josh Bailey. The Islanders will gain $6 million dollars in salary-cap space. The Islanders will also gain another spot for a young forward like Simon Holmstrom or possibly Cole Coskey. The fans definitely won’t be happy about losing Josh Bailey, but they’ll have to deal with the loss.