New York Islanders: Who Will the Islanders Protect from the Expansion Draft?

New York Islanders, Anders Lee

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.

The Rules

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.

Protected Forwards

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.

Protected Defenseman

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.

Protected Goalie

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.

Conclusion

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.

NBA Targeting May 8th for Practice Facilities in Certain States To Open with Strict Guidelines

Madison Square Garden

As certain states in America begin to loosen restrictions on their stay-at-home order, it seems as though the NBA will allow certain team facilities to begin opening in the next few weeks. While Adrian Wojnarowski reported this news on Saturday, Shams Charania broke down the news further earlier today in several tweets.

Marc Stein tweeted shortly thereafter the guidelines regarding the opening of practice facilities in specific states. The restrictions stated in the memo include no more than four players being permitted at a facility at any one time, no head or assistant coaches can participate, no group activity meaning practices or scrimmages, and players remained prohibited from using non-team facilities such as public health clubs, gyms, etc.

Even with restrictions being lifted in certain areas of the country, there are still several franchises pushing back against the NBA initiative. The Atlanta Hawks, who play in a state (Georgia) where restrictions have been lifted, are hesitant to send players into the team facility as early as next Friday. Woj details the reason why the Hawks and other NBA franchises are not keen on opening the facilities so soon in the tweet below:

It is yet to be determined if the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks would be among the teams allowed to return to their practice facilities on May 8th, though they will most likely not be, since the Covid-19 pandemic has hit New York harder than anywhere else in the country.

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New York Jets at the NFL Draft: What to Expect on Day 3

New York Jets, Joe Douglas

The New York Jets have a busy day ahead of them as the NFL Draft concludes. What can fans expect on day three?

New York fans wanted sports back. Between the New York Liberty’s plethora of picks in last weekend’s WNBA Draft and the New York Jets’ most recent moves, teams are giving their fans plenty to talk about.

After a trade with the New England Patriots, the Jets have six picks over the final four rounds of the 2020 NFL Draft. They own their allotted spots with the 120th, 158th, and 191st picks, while they gained the 125th and 129th from the Patriots. Kansas City also sent over the 211th in exchange for Darron Lee last spring.

What can fans expect with these final picks? ESM investigates…

A Special Day

The Jets began to address their special teams issues this week. Incumbent kicker Sam Ficken re-signed with the team on Thursday, setting up a competition with Brett Maher. On Friday, the Jets used the pick gained in the Leonard Williams deal to draft California safety Ashtyn Davis, who spent two years as the Golden Bears kickoff returner (finishing second in the Pac-12 in yardage in both seasons).

While it’s probably not an ideal contest (Ficken and Maher ranked 30th and 32nd in conversion rate last season), it’s difficult to imagine the Jets adding a third kicker. So that probably rules out Georgia’s Rodrigo Blankenship, a mainstay in the final picks of ESM experts’ mock drafts. But the extra draft capital affords the Jets a chance to further bolster the unit.

With no progress on the Lac Edwards situation, the Jets could open another competition at punter. Ian Berryman, whose NFL experience consists of a Pittsburgh summer stint, is the current option, which could lead the Jets to take a look at Braden Mann of Texas A&M. Mann earned unanimous All-American honors and set the NCAA record for best average (51.0) en route to Ray Guy Award honors. It seems like a small problem at first glance, but, until the Jets can consistently score, a reliable punter will be a must-have accessory.

Davis can help the return game, but the Jets should keep an eye on Virginia’s Joe Reed as the afternoon wears on. Reed not only became a return game legend in the ACC (his 3,042 yards are second all-time), but he can also help the offense as a slot receiver (14 touchdown catches over the last two seasons).

Spelling R-B

The Jets’ foreseeable future at the running back spot begins and ends with Le’Veon Bell…especially when you consider what they’re paying him. But Bell will need a spell option as the Jets press on. Bilal Powell and Ty Montgomery are still free agents, and modern Bell understudies include Trenton Cannon and Kenneth Dixon. With the offensive line possibly on its way to rejuvenation, it could be a good time to be a Jets running back.

A name to keep an eye on is Patrick Taylor from Memphis. An injury cost him a portion of his senior season, but he was a consistent short-yardage and red zone prescience. Other steals behind the quarterback could include FCS stud James Robinson from Illinois State and Javon Leake of Maryland, who can also insert himself into the return game picture as well.

New Faces at Familiar Places

Over the first two days of the draft, the Jets have shored up several need positions. Some say the Jets have been the robbers of the 2020 draft, beneficiaries of the respective falls of Mekhi Becton and Denzel Mims, allowing them to upgrade their blocking and receiving. Could day three continue that trend?

While there’s no denying the Jets have improved, at least on paper, but the extra draft capital could allow them to revisit positions already addressed. They definitely need a cornerback (Virgina’s Bryce Hall and Notre Dame’s Troy Pride will probably be on the board when they make their trio of selections in the 120s), but their wheeling and dealing at the virtual draft table has allowed them to be repetitive.

Another small school wonder to look out for Division III interior blocker Ben Bartch. Their interior depth is desperate need of replenishment, after all, and the Jets have yet to make a selection in the department. The ridiculously deep receiver class also continues to make itself known. Donovan Peoples-Jones may be worth a look, as would Liberty’s Antonio Golden-Gandy.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Are the Cowboys Pursuing Trade For New York Jet’s Cornerstone?

New York Jets, Jamal Adams

The Cowboys went down to the wire with the Jets at the trade deadline in negotiations for star safety Jamal Adams. The New York Jets wanted a 1st Round Pick and 2 Seconds. The Cowboys wouldn’t budge on their offer of a 1st and a day 3 selection. The Jets kept Jamal and after briefly being a cause of unrest among the Jets faithful, he went right back to bringing the energy to the defense and team as a whole.

Now, the New York Jets are in an offseason where they’ve spent a small amount of money on short term deals. They’ve invested in the offensive line and are seemingly going to invest a bulk of their draft picks into the offense as well. The Jets are preparing to rebuild this team into a contender in the future, not next season. This means they need to keep the talent they do have on defense for the long haul, so the Jets need to either lock up Jamal for the future or trade him and get compensation for him.

What Could A Deal Look Like?

I and many Jets fans would prefer he remains in Green and White, but the Cowboys are reportedly monitoring the situation between the Jets and Jamal and may be prepping to attempt a trade again. If the Cowboys did make an offer, it would likely include their 1st rounder, their 2nd or 3rd rounder and maybe another pick. The Jets would hypothetically then have a selection to add one of the top offensive linemen at 11 and add a receiver with the Cowboys selection. This would give them much more flexibility and help build for the long term with more guys on less expensive deals.

Is It Really Worth It?

Although some people discredit Jamal’s impact because of how the safety position is valued, he’s more than just a typical safety. Adams is an absolute monster on defense. He led the team in sacks last year with Jordan Jenkins. He’s also masterful in coverage and tackling. Adams is not just a force on the field but also in the locker room. Adams actively recruits players, is the voice of the team and the captain of the defense. He’s well regarded within the Jets community and the league as a whole. The Jets struck gold with Jamal Adams. No matter who they could add with the Cowboys picks, those players couldn’t have the same impact Jamal has had. Jamal Adams needs to remain a Jet, not just for now, but for a very long time.

3 moves the New York Knicks have interest in for the off-season

With the NBA season in limbo, the New York Knicks rumors are starting to circulate.  The newest one is the likelihood of the team picking up Reggie Bullock’s contract for next season.

Add this rumor to the other Knicks ones thus far.  One’s that are already swirling are interest in signing free-agent big man Christian Wood and bringing back Maurice ‘Moe’ Harkless.

While these are only a few, these aren’t big headlines for next season.  It could be give fans that odd feeling that the lineup could be similar to begin next season despite their high upcoming draft pick.  Hopefully there’s a lot of changes that’ll happen in Leon Rose’s first season.

As much as Knicks fans might dislike the rumors of the team going after the biggest names in free agency, at least it’s something. Now we know that the season isn’t over but in a time with no sports, fans need something to talk about.  Resigning players that have no future with the team doesn’t move the needle.

However, this could be a good thing. Rose said that he’ll be move behind the scenes when it comes to Knicks.  So these rumors could be click-bait.  The team is always in the news whether it’s good or bad.  So, being quieter and behind the scenes could be for the best.  Just got to hope that the Knicks owner falls in suit with taking a more quite approach.

The Knicks are always linked to the biggest names in the NBA whether they’re partially true or not.  We all know about last off-season with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.  However, it seems like a good move considering how much of a headache those two can be despite their talent.  A few months go, the Giannis Antetokounmpo rumors were hot and that’ll start again after next season.

The interest in Christian Wood makes the most sense.  Wood is has freakish athleticism for a big man who can shoot from behind the arc.  He’ll also be an upgrade defensively which would pair nicely with Mitchell Robinson.  Bringing back Harkless is a possibility since he’s young but Bullock is a toss up.  Leon Rose will have his hands full in his first season with the New York Knicks.

New York Jets Resign QB David Fales

David Fales has been a well-traveled backup for Adam Gase and the New York Jets. He’s followed Gase and now got to sit behind Darnold for a bulk of last year as both of the other backups going down last year. Fales is reportedly a high IQ guy and the former San Jose State product with good knowledge of the offense will return to fight for the backup job next season.

Career Numbers

Fales played two years at San Jose State as the starter. In those two years, Fales threw for 8,382 yards, 66 TDs, and 22 INTs. Although San Jose State is not a big school, those numbers are very impressive. Fales hasn’t gotten a lot of reps in the pros. He did get some legitimate reps in 2018 and he did ok. He had 265 yards, 1 TD and an INT in 2018. Fales is a backup caliber player. He may have untapped potential. At 29, time is winding down to tap into that potential.

How Does He Fit For Next Season

Fales will compete for the backup QB job. He doesn’t seem like the best guy to be the backup for Darnold. He can’t provide mentorship because he’s played less than Darnold. He does have knowledge of the offense and that is a favorable trait because of the presumed lack of preparation that the Jets will have due to COVID-19. Fales will compete, be given a shot to take the job, but he should not be counted on if Sam goes down. The New York Jets should bring in another body whether in the draft to develop into a good backup or bring in a vet to mentor Sam. Some guys who could be good guys are Joe Flacco, the former starter in Baltimore that struggled in Denver last year and Matt Moore a career backup with ties to Gase.

New York Jets: What WRs Could Jets Draft?

The New York Jets lost their best receiver this week to Carolina. With Anderson gone, the Jets brought in Breshard Perriman on a one year deal. With him on a prove-it deal, Quincy Enunwa with injury question marks galore and Jamison Crowder best suited in the slot, the Jets need to add to their receiving corps in the draft.

Day 1

The Jets have pick 11. I’m a firm believer that they should take and offensive lineman with that pick. If they went receiver though, it’s between 3 guys. Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, and Henry Ruggs are the top 3 guys in this LOADED class.

Jeudy stands out to me above the other two. Jeudy is versatile and can play in a lot or on the outside. Jeudy is one of the crispest route runners I’ve ever seen and he’s a future number 1 receiver.

Lamb is a deep threat who can high point the ball like nobody’s business he’d fit Sam Darnold’s play style the best of the three and would give him that deep threat he had in Anderson and then some.

Ruggs is the most electric of the 3. He lit up the 40-yard dash and has flashed his in-game speed as well. If he developed as a route runner he’d have the most upside of the 3. They’re all phenomenal talents and would immediately bolster the Jets receiving corps now and in the future.

Day 2 & 3

This receiving class is loaded. That’s why I’d prefer the Jets to wait till day 2 & 3 to pick a weapon or two for the same. Rather than go through all the incredible talent I highlighted 4 guys I think would be the best fits or are my favorite receivers.

Justin Jefferson is one of my favorite prospects in this draft. He’s a receiver’s best friend and if he slips to day 2 and the Jets pick, the New York Jets should take him. He’s got a great mix of size and speed and would immediately become Darnold’s favorite target.

Chase Claypool is a unique guy. He’s a lot like Evan Engram. Engram is a good tight end but sometimes he’s more like a receiver. Claypool is a good receiver but sometimes he’s more like a tight end. He’s a unique hybrid that is faster than most tight ends and could be both a great threat in space and a beast in the red zone.

Michael Pittman is a former teammate of Sam Darnold. His catch radius is off the charts. He’s dynamic and he’s got that connection to Sam. Pittman would become a great piece of this offense and he’s a good personality on and off the field.

Antonio Gandy Golden is a guy who’s going to be available later in this draft. Golden reminds me of a slightly shorter and at this timeless talented Megatron He’s physical, lengthy and can make plays happen. Golden can develop and become a key piece of any offense.

Other guys like Denzel Mims, Tee Higgins, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Brandon Aiyuk, and KJ Hamler are all beasts and guys I like as well. The point is with all this talent, the Jets have no excuse not to upgrade their receiving corps.

New York Guardians add five players as XFL rosters expand

New York Guardians

The New York Guardians added five players to their roster, as XFL ledgers now expand from 52 to 57 players after the midway mark.

The New York Guardians added five players on Tuesday, as XFL rosters expanded from 52 to 57 players. Each of the additions came from “Team 9”, the XFL’s leaguewide farm team.

QB Garrett Fugate
Fugate was chosen by the Guardians during the open portion of the XFL Draft last fall. He would go on to spend the preseason with the team after a brief tenure in the CFL in 2018.

LB Darnell Leslie
A Monmouth product, Leslie was likewise taken in the draft’s open portion. In only three seasons, Leslie finished seventh in Hawks history in sacks.

CB DeJuan Neal
Another open draft returnee, Neal starred at Division II Shepherd. He did partake in a single preseason game with the NFL’s Washington Redskins last summer.

WR Dalton Ponchillia 
Ponchillia spent his college career at three different schools, earning the most success at East Tennessee State, where he led the team in receiving in 2015.

G Maea Teuhema
Originally ranked as a four-star prospect by ESPN, Teuhema began his college career at LSU. His freshman season of 2014 saw him help pave the way for Leonard Fournette to run for nearly 2,000 yards. 2017 saw him transfer to Southeastern Louisiana. He was invited to the New Orleans Saints’ rookie camp before joining the ill-fated AAF squad in San Antonio. Teuhema was originally chosen in the open draft by the Dallas Renegades but was later waived and spent the rest of the camp period in New York before realigning with Team 9.

The Guardians (3-2) currently entangled in a three-way tie in the XFL’s East division. They return to action on Saturday afternoon at MetLife Stadium against the undefeated Houston Roughnecks (2:00 p.m. ET, ABC).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

This Day in New York Yankees History: George Brett’s Pine Tar Incident

July 24th, 1983, the New York Yankees were squaring up against the Kansas City Royals in a American League game. This normal game would become one of the most bizarre match ups in Major League history.

The game was being played at Yankee Stadium where the Royals were trailing the Yankees 4-3 in the top of the ninth inning. George Brett, one of the game’s best, came up with one runner on in the ninth. Yankees’ pitcher, Goose Gossage, tossed him a high fastball that was sent over the right-field fence. The Royals took the lead 5-4 in the ninth.

As Brett was trotting the bases, Yankees’ manager, Billy Martin, came out of the dugout wanting to take a look at Brett’s bat. It became clear that Martin was pointing out that Brett’s bat had too much pine tar, and the umpires met to take a look.

The MLB rule (cited as Rule 3.02(c) in the 2018 Rulebook) says: “The bat handle, for not more than 18 inches from its end, may be covered or treated with any material or substance to improve the grip.”

The umpires decided that the bat was in violation of the rule and called Brett out. As you can see here, Brett was not too happy with the call.

Image result for george brett pine tar gif

Due to his outburst, Brett was ejected from the game and since he was called out, the Yankees ended up winning 4-3. Royals’ pitcher, Gaylord Perry, tried giving the bat to the bat boy during Brett’s eruption to hide the evidence. He was stopped by a guard and was ejected as well.

Protest

The Royals protested the game. Four days later, American League president Lee MacPhail upheld the protest. He explained that the rule was to avoid discoloring the ball, and Brett’s pine tar did not effect the distance of the hit. MacPahil restored Brett’s home run and the two clubs resumed the game in the bottom of the ninth. So the Royals were leading 5-4 heading into the bottom of the ninth.

The final four outs of the game were recorded and the Royals won 5-4.

This is one of the most memorable games in MLB history. The theatrics, protest, and appeal all show how weird of a game baseball can be. Brett had this to say about the game: “It was a positive thing, you know? It wasn’t a ground-ball that went through my legs or a strikeout. I hit a home run off one of the toughest relief pitchers in baseball.”

New York Yankees: Luis Severino Timetable and Update

New York Yankees, Luis Severino

The New York Yankees have not had their ace all season, Luis Severino, who has suffered with shoulder problems all season. His recovery has been up and down and Yankee fans are beginning to wonder – will they see Severino take the mound at all this year?

Many reports have said that Severino should be returning late August, however, Severino’s rehab has been inconsistent all year. He’s been cleared to throw, then shut down. Cleared to throw, then shut down again. According to CBS Sports, Severino will need to complete a full spring training before the Yankees can consider activating from the 60-day injured list.

The Yankees’ righty is expected to begin throwing on flat-ground before heading into bullpen sessions. Severino’s pitch count will be highly monitored as he enters into throwing to avoid any other setbacks, per CBS Sports. This throwing program is expected to begin Monday.

A few days ago, Severino met with media where he said he wouldn’t mind taking on a bullpen role, per Coley Harvey of ESPN.com. “I just want to pitch. It doesn’t matter where or when, in the bullpen or as a starter. I just want to pitch” Luis said.

Last season Severino posted a 3.39 ERA with a 19-8 record. In 191.1 innings pitched, he fanned 220 while only allowing 19 home runs. Severino averaged an astounding 10.3 strikeouts per nine innings pitched (Baseball reference).

Sevy’s return?

Severino’s return could be huge for the club. As they try to tack on their 28th World Series championship this year, having their ace available would be big. That being said, I personally don’t believe we will see Severino back on the mound for this season. His injury and rehab has been so inconsistent that I think it would be hard to put him back in a major league role after being sidelined all season. As much as I want to see “Sevy” take the mound again, I just don’t think it’ll happen.