With the SCF concluded, New York Rangers look towards the NHL Expansion Draft

seattle kraken

Now that the Stanley Cup Finals have concluded, New York Rangers General Manager Chris Drury can look ahead to the Seattle Expansion Draft.

The offseason has officially begun now that the Tampa Bay Lightning have hoisted their second consecutive Stanley Cup. New York Rangers General Manager Chris Drury can now begin the process to build the roster for the 2021-2022 season.

The newest NHL franchise, the Seattle Kraken, will have its expansion draft on July 21st. The draft will be televised live from Seattle at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2 in the U.S. and Sportsnet and SN NOW in Canada.

Expansion Draft Process

The Kraken will select one player from each team excluding the Golden Knights for a total of 30 (14 forwards, nine defensemen, and three goalies.

Current NHL teams can protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie, or eight skaters (forwards/defensemen) and one goalie, under the following conditions.

* All players with no-movement clauses at the time of the draft, and who decline to waive those clauses, must be protected and will be counted toward their team’s applicable protection limits.

* All first- and second-year professionals, and all unsigned draft choices, will be exempt from selection and will not be counted toward protection limits.

In addition, all NHL teams must meet the following minimum requirements regarding players exposed for selection in the draft:

* One defenseman who is a) under contract in 2021-22 and b) played in at least 40 NHL games the prior season or played in at least 70 NHL games in the prior two seasons.

* Two forwards who are a) under contract in 2021-22 and b) played at least 40 NHL games the prior season or played in at least 70 NHL games in the prior two seasons.

* One goalie who is under contract in 2021-22 or will be a restricted free agent at the end of his current contract immediately prior to 2021-22. If a team elects to make a restricted free agent goalie available to meet this requirement, that goalie must have received his qualifying offer prior to the submission of the team’s protected list (per NHL.com)

Projected Protected List

Based on the rules for the upcoming expansion draft, I’d anticipate the club to choose seven forwards, three defensemen, and one goalie format. It would look like this;

Forwards Protected

Artemi Panarin (NMC)
Chris Kreider (NMC)
Mika Zibanejad (NMC)
Ryan Strome
Pavel Buchnevich
Filip Chytil
Brett Howden

Defenseman
Jacob Trouba (NMC)
Ryan Lindgren
Libor Hajek

Goalie
Alexandar Georgiev

Currently, the Rangers can not protect Colin Blackwell nor Kevin Rooney as they can not be protected based on the criteria above. This could change if the team re-signs Brett Howden, Julian Gauthier, or Philp Di Giuseppe,  for the purpose of expansion protection, but as of this moment, that has not happened. (Thanks to @StatBoy_Steven for the clarity).

I listed Howden as the seventh forward to be protected as a projection of what the club would do. Howden was a favorite of former coach David Quinn. With the hiring of Gerard Gallant, could there be a change in the team’s perspective of who is or can be productive given a fair opportunity?  If so, they should protect Gauthier instead of Howden.

Defenseman Brendan Smith is an unrestricted free agent. Protected him is not a smart option since he is allowed to sign with any team or club regardless of the Expansion Draft.

Defenseman Anthony DeAngelo is rumored to be on the team’s buyout list, which is not surprising. The club may consider buying out the 25-year-old prior to the expansion draft.

On the blueline the choice of protecting Hajek or Anthony Bitetto is tough, but the Rangers have put a lot of time and effort into Hajek and I don’t see them taking a chance of losing him.

Non Expansion Eligible Players

These players are exempt from the expansion draft include;

Igor Shesterkin
Adam Fox
Kaapo Kakko
K’Andre Miller
Alexis Lafreniere
Vitali Kravtsov
Nils Lundqvist
Yegor Rykov
Morgan Barron
Lauri Pajuniemi
Tarmo Reunanen
Tyler Wall
Zac Jones

A lot of work to compute for Drury where losing just one player could alter the direction the team has strived to achieve. This club can ill-afford to take a step backward following the decision to move on from John Davidson, Jeff Gorton, and Quinn in late May.

 

New York Jets invade metropolitan postseason proceedings

New York Jets, Joe Douglas

The New York Jets proved to be good luck charms for fellow metropolitan professionals competing in the weekend’s postseason fare.

The New York Jets need some help in toppling a New England-based opponent, having dropped ten consecutive contests against the Patriots. Fortunately, the team was able to do conduct some offseason research over the weekend.

The respective championship quests of both the Brooklyn Nets and New York Islanders enjoyed a bit of a boost with Jets players in attendance on Saturday night. Each team is in the second round of their league’s postseason proceedings and both of them have had to deal with opponents of Massachusetts origins.

Offensive representatives once again descended upon Nassau Coliseum to watch the Islanders’ 4-1 triumph over the Boston Bruins in Game 4 of the NHL’s East Division title series, knotting the best-of-seven series at two games apiece. Much like their prior visit to Uniondale, offensive lineman Dan Feeney stole the show by celebrating Islander goals by raucously finishing off his beer.

Feeney was joined by several of his new offensive teammates, including fellow metropolitan newcomers Zach Wilson and Michael Carter. The scorers were once again clad in customized Islander jerseys bearing the names and numerals they’ll wear on the gridiron.

The players appear to be far more effective talismans for an Islanders team seeking its first Stanley Cup hoist since 1983; head coach Robert Saleh took in Game 3 of the series on Thursday night, but Boston prevailed in a 2-1 overtime decision.

An hour away in Brooklyn, Joe Douglas was on the scene for the Nets’ second-round opener against the Milwaukee Bucks. The showdown against Giannis Antetokounmpo and Co. was set up through a 4-1 series victory over the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference’s quarterfinal round.

Jets/Nets fan @jaregss and his group were lucky enough to snap a photo with Douglas on their way out of the arena, with the Jets’ general manager clad in a shirt paying tribute to renowned wrestler Bret “Hitman” Hart. Many Nets fans, hungry for their first NBA title, were more than happy to welcome the Jets’ general manager to the cause.

Brooklyn dealt an appropriate blow to the Bucks in the first game of the series, as they overcame the medically-induced absence of James Harden to earn a 115-107 victory.

The Jets’ new friends both return to postseason action on Monday night. The Islanders ship back to Boston for a pivotal fifth game in the quarterfinal round (6:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN) while the Nets look to take a two-game lead in the Borough of Churches (7:30 p.m. ET, TNT).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Islanders: Round 1 Matchup Analysis

islanders, adam pelech

The New York Islanders have made the playoffs for the third season in a row. The franchise has taken a complete left turn since star player John Tavares left in free agency in 2018. Last year, the Islanders made a deep playoff run, making it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals. Where they took the Stanley Cup Champions to 6 games. Only one Brock Nelson breakaway goal from a game 7. The Islanders didn’t have to face the Pittsburgh Penguins last year, as they got eliminated within the play-in round. This year, Hockey fans got spoiled once again and get a 2019 round 1 rematch between the two rivals. Anytime these two teams play against each other: blood boils, goals are scored, and bells are rung. This series will come down to which team is more well-rounded and better disciplined. Who has the advantage on paper?

Forwards: Penguins

If you have a player like Sidney Crosby on your team, your forward core is pretty good. Then you throw in stars like Evgeni Malkin and Jake Guentzel, the core looks even better. A supporting cast with Jared McCann, Jeff Carter, Bryan Rust, Jason Zucker, and Kasperi Kapanen. The Penguins have some pretty good depth as well with guys like Brandon Tanev, Zach Aston-Reese, and Colton Sceviour. I believe this core is just more energetic than the Islanders. Don’t get me wrong, Mat Barzal and co. have the ability to light the lamps all night long, but they do struggle to score often. Advantage: Penguins.

Defense: Islanders

The Islanders probably have the best defensive core in the league: Ryan Pulock and Adam Pelech, two great, underrated defenders who can go both ways. Nick Leddy and Noah Dobson are a great skaters who gives a huge advantage to the Isles in the offensive zone. Scott Mayfield is a good penalty killer, but he does miss his assignment a lot. And Andy Greene is just a solid old guy. The Penguins have a top defender of the decade in Kris Letang paired with a solid left defender in Brian Dumoulin on the first line. After that, the core drops off. Mike Matheson is on the second line, which says something. Hopefully, Pierre-Oliver Joseph breaks out soon.

Goalies: Islanders

Casey Desmith and Tristen Jarry have played great all year against the Islanders. But the William J. Jennings trophy runner-ups are just more skilled than the Penguins duo. Varlamov and Sorokin are a 1a/1b situation. Jarry is the 1, and Desmith is definitely the 2. Goalies on both sides will be tested greatly every single game. This is definitely a series to watch.

New York Rangers Fined $250,000 by the NHL

National Hockey League, NHL

The National Hockey leagued recently announced that the New York Rangers have been fined $250,000 for their comments regarding the NHL’s Department of Player Safety.

Their statement read: “Public comments of the nature issued by the Rangers that were personal in nature and demeaning of a League executive will not be tolerated” said NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. “While we don’t expect our clubs to agree with every decision rendered by the Department of Public Safety, the extent to which the Rangers expressed the disagreement was unacceptable. It is terribly unfair to question George Parras’ professionalism and dedication to his role and the Department of Player Safety.”

The Rangers issued a strong statement after Washington Capital’s Tom Wilson punched a vulnerable Pavel Buchnevich and rag-dolled Artemi Panarin. This incident has resulted in Panarin missing the last three games of the season. However, Wilson was only fined $5000 for the “roughing” of Buchnevich.

New York Ranger’s Buchnevich to face hearing with Player Safety

Before the announcement of the fine, the NHL Department of Player Safety announced that Buchnevich will be called for a hearing for an incident that happened in Wednesday night’s game.

Buchnevich drew drawing a major and game misconduct for his dangerous high stick to Anthony Mantha’s face early in the second period. This penalty came after two other Buchnevich penalties, a slashing to Wilson and a high sticking to Zdeno Chara.

It is more than likely that Buchnevich will receive some sort of suspension for the Mantha incident.

New York Ranger’s new GM Chris Drury and Glen Sather hold a press conference

After the surprise firing of President John Davidson and General Manager Jeff Gorton on Tuesday, newly appointed GM Chris Drury addressed the media on Wednesday morning.

Among the issues discussed, is whether head coach David Quinn would return next season. At this point, that is more than a valid question as owner James Dolan was reported as saying that he was not pleased with the direction that the team was heading.

Drury would only respond by saying that “I’m certainly not going to sit here and talk about anyone’s job status in the organization publicly.”

Drury did address how the rebuild was going, saying that “I really believe in what we’ve accomplished since The Letter. We have a lot of good pieces & it’s an exciting time for the org. When the season ends, we’re going to take a look at everything & see if we can take the next step and make ourselves a playoff team.”

The Rangers return to the ice tonight to face the Boston Bruins. They will finish the season with another match against the Bruins. Both games are in Boston.

New York Islanders: Production is needed from new players

Kyle Palmieri, islanders

The New York Islanders clinched a playoff spot with their dominant win over the New York Rangers on Saturday. Off of the hangover, the Islanders blew a 2 goal lead to the worst team in the league. I will not blame individual players, but something has to be done about Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac. Both of these newly acquired players are not living up to their playing abilities at all. Travis Zajac has become a 13th forward, as he lost his starting spot to Leo Komarov. While Kyle Palmieri is on a total dry streak and looks totally out of place most of the game. What is the solution to finally get these players rolling before the playoffs come along.

First Line Time For Palmieri

I still don’t understand how Leo Komarov/Travis Zajac,/Josh Bailey all got first-line minutes before Kyle Palmieri. Head coach Barry Trotz loves running the first line with a true power forward and 2 elusive playmakers. Kyle Palmieri is literally the definition of a power forward, so it makes no sense why the Islanders won’t at least try the combination. Mat Barzal’s play-making abilities, mixed with Jordan Eberle’s good Hockey sense, could definitely catapult Palmieri’s production. Islander fans saw Anthony Beauvillier revive his season when Trotz brought back the second line from last year’s playoffs. I don’t see why Palmieri being on the first line won’t do the same.

What About Zajac?

Travis Zajac was brought to the Island just in case another forward went down. JG Pageau took last night’s game off due to injury, and Zajac was brought in to clean up the third line. Zajac played as bad as Ross Johnston does. If Zajac played at least decent last night, I bet he would’ve taken Komarov’s spot, who took 2 penalties. Zajac high-sticked a Sabres’ player when the net was empty, on purpose. Never won a single 1v1 battle. It totally stunted the momentum of the third line. To sum it up, Zajac can either pick it up when he gets another chance, or he can find his way into free agency quickly.

New York Islanders: Lineup changes must be made

Mathew Barzal, New York Islanders

The New York Islanders are doing their signature late regular-season skid right now. The problem is, within this division, with these great teams, there is no room for a skid. The Islanders have 7 games left, and 4 of them are easily winnable. If the Islanders can’t sneak out at least 6 points from 4 games against the Devils and Sabres, they shouldn’t be in the playoffs. The other three games are against their archenemy, the New York Rangers, and the big bad Boston Bruins.

The Islanders have a clear shot into making the playoffs, all they have to do is beat the Rangers in regulation twice. These lines that Barry Trotz has been putting together as of late haven’t been cutting it. I think tonight’s lineup should read as such.

First Line

Mat Barzal is never coming off of the first line, he’s the best player on the ice at all times. Barzal needs to get going, 13 straight games without a goal aren’t going to cut it. The Islanders traded for a power forward who can snipe and is used to playing first-line minutes. Kyle Palmieri needs to be on the first line for at least 3 games before Trotz switches it up again. On the right-wing, I think Jordan Eberle still earns his spot there. He’s really been playing solid Hockey, he just needs a little help from his linemates.

Second Line

Oliver Wahlstrom should be playing every single night regardless of his play from the prior night. Trotz is hurting the younger kids’ development by sitting them every time they make a mistake. You cannot play good Hockey if you’re afraid to mess up. Wahlstrom should be accompanied by Brock Nelson, the two are a perfect fit. Nelson loves slashing to the net and dangling around defenders, why not give him someone who can rip it into the toy department from the faceoff circle. The right-wing on this line is a little sketchy. Travis Zajac needs to step his play up. For a forward line to work, all 3 guys must be on their toes and moving. Zajac moves in slow motion.

Third Line

I have no idea why Trotz broke up the line of Anthony Beauvillier, JG Pageau, and Josh Bailey. That line just works to perfection for some reason. Pageau winning faceoffs and cutting to the net mixed with Josh Bailey’s good passing and Beauvillier’s speed is a nightmare for defenders. This line just works, and there is no reason to move any of these guys.

Fourth Line

The energy line will remain the energy line. These guys play really well together when things are clicking. But, they shouldn’t be relied upon to get a goal. I still think Clutterbuck, Martin, and Cizikas have another year left together.

New York Islanders: What will the lines look like after the Palmieri trade?

The New York Islanders have successfully completed two huge trades for top 6 forwards in the past two years. Last year, General Manager Lou Lamoriello traded away a bundle of picks for JG Pageau. That trade was regarded as one of the best trades of last year and possibly recent Islander history. Lamoriello might’ve struck gold two years in a row as he completed another trade with the New Jersey Devils last night.

The Islanders acquired Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac for this year’s first-rounder, Mason Jobst, AJ Greer, and a conditional fourth-round pick. The Islanders added 2 impact forwards who will be plugged into the lineup and play as soon as possible. Where will the new additions play, though?

Kyle Palmieri

Kyle Palmieri should be playing on Mat Barzal’s left-wing as he replaces fringe bottom 6 forward Leo Komarov. This move will undoubtedly improve Mat Barzal and Jordan Eberle’s assist and goal numbers. Palmieri brings the same physicality that Anders Lee always brought to the table. But, Palmieri also has an elite shot that Anders Lee does not possess. The only problem with Palmieri being on the first line is the fact that the Islanders would be brandishing three right-handed forwards on one line. It’s not a huge problem, as the second line powerplay features all left-handers, but it’s something to look out for. Palmieri brings a clutch factor that hasn’t been seen on the Island in forever and a nice power-play presence.

Travis Zajac

Travis Zajac was an interesting last-minute addition to the Kyle Palmieri trade. I believe the only reason the Devils added him to the trade was the fact that they didn’t want to resign him. Or, they felt that they couldn’t get a first-round pick for just Palmieri. Whatever the reason may be, the Islanders walk away with another good center. Zajac should not be playing center for the Islanders, though, as the Isles already have 4 good/great centers. Zajac will have to move to wing for the first time in his long, storied career. I believe he will fit in nicely on JG Pageau’s left-wing, as Oliver Wahlstrom stays at right-wing. Zajac brings experience, an excellent faceoff percentage, and an ability to play on the power play/kill.

Why the New York Islanders should stay far away from Taylor Hall

islanders, taylor hall

The New York Islanders are in the trade market after their captain Anders Lee was placed on LTIR with a torn ACL. The Islanders were gifted back Anders Lee’s cap hit for this year, which is about $7 million. The Islanders need a top 6 forward to help out Mat Barzal and Jordan Eberle. There are several targets, and most of them are appealing. Guys like Conor Garland, Phil Kessel, Kyle Palmieri, Dustin Brown, Viktor Arvidsson, and many more. One of these targets, Taylor Hall, is a guy the Islanders need to stay far away from.

The Reasoning

Taylor Hall has been quite rough in his last 2 years as a player and is playing his worst Hockey right now. Currently, this kid has 2 goals, and he played alongside Jack Eichel. I know Eichel wasn’t playing his best Hockey either, but I think his stats would be inflated if Hall actually scored more than once a blue moon. All the fans keep saying is that the Isles need a goal scorer, but when it comes to Hall, there’s an exception. Hall has only one more goal than Michael Dal Colle. Taylor Hall has been on 3 teams, now 4 teams in the last 3 years. That says quite a lot about a player. And it’s gonna take value to actually get hall: Kieffer bellows, a second, and another good player. Hall would only be a half-year rental too, and it’s not worth it.

Other Options

Conor Garland is a perfect top 6 forward for the Islanders for many reasons. Garland is currently rocking 10 goals and 18 assists in 37 games for the Arizona Coyotes. He’s putting up good numbers while having Nick Schmaltz and Michael Bunting on his line. The only problem is that he will be an RFA this offseason and will look for well-deserved big money. I also believe Kyle Palmieri is the best and most realistic trade for the Islanders. Palmieri is already sitting games ahead of the trade deadline, as he currently has 17 points in 34 games. Alongside some struggling young forwards, Palmieri is due for a change of scenery. It’ll be a relatively cheap trade to get him.

New York Rangers may have to sit and watch as NHL reschedules key games

The NHL will extend the end of the regular season from May 8 to May 11 which could impact a trip to the post-season for the New York Rangers.

The New York Rangers and Boston Bruins were supposed to conclude their regular season in a two-game set in Boston on May 6 and May 8. The NHL was forced to reschedule several games due to the pandemic which could force the Blueshirts to sit and watch the Bruins play their final two games in hopes of making the playoffs.

In an announcement made by the National Hockey League on Sunday, 19 games were rescheduled extending the season’s conclusion by three days.

Rescheduled Games

NEW YORK (March 28, 2021) – The National Hockey League today announced the following updates to the 2020-21 regular-season schedule:

Game 498, Edmonton at Montreal, scheduled for March 22, is now scheduled for March 30 at 7 p.m. ET

Game 714, Washington at Boston, scheduled for April 20, is now scheduled for April 11 at 7 p.m. ET

Game 686, Calgary at Montreal, scheduled for April 16 at 7 p.m. ET, will now start at 6 p.m. ET

Game 546, Ottawa at Montreal, scheduled for March 28, is now scheduled for April 17 at 4 p.m. ET

Game 483, Boston at Buffalo, scheduled for March 20, is now scheduled for April 20 at 7 p.m. ET

Game 726, Toronto at Winnipeg, scheduled for April 21 at 8 p.m. ET, will now start at 7 p.m. ET

Game 721, Montreal at Edmonton, scheduled for April 20, is now scheduled for April 21 at 10 p.m. ET

Game 736, Montreal at Calgary, scheduled for April 22, is now scheduled for April 23 at 9 p.m. ET

Game 761, Montreal at Calgary, scheduled for April 26 at 10 p.m. ET, will now start at 6:30 p.m. ET

Game 760, Edmonton at Winnipeg scheduled for April 26 at 8 p.m. ET, will now start at 9 p.m. ET

Game 564, Montreal at Ottawa, scheduled for March 30, is now scheduled for May 5 at 7 p.m. ET

Game 847, Montreal at Toronto, scheduled for May 7, is now scheduled for May 6 at 7 p.m. ET

Game 510, Edmonton at Montreal, scheduled for March 24, is now scheduled for May 10 at 5:30 p.m. ET

Game 841, Tampa Bay at Florida, scheduled for May 6, is now scheduled for May 10 at 7 p.m. ET

Game 529: NY Islanders at Boston, scheduled for March 23, is now scheduled for May 10 at 7 p.m. ET

Game 833, Toronto at Ottawa, scheduled for May 5, is now scheduled for May 10 at 8 p.m. ET

Game 456, St. Louis at Los Angeles, scheduled for March 15, is now scheduled for May 10 at 10 p.m. ET

Game 526, Edmonton at Montreal, scheduled for March 26, is now scheduled for May 11 at 7 p.m. ET

Game 653, Boston at Washington, scheduled for April 11, is now scheduled for May 11 at 7 p.m. ET

*Schedule via NHL Media

The two games that most affect the Rangers will take place on May 10 and May 11. The two games would be against the division leaders (as of now) with four valuable points up for grabs.

As of Monday night, the Rangers sit in sixth place in the MassMutual East Division five points behind the fourth-place Bruins who also have three games in hand.

With 22 games remaining in the season, The Rangers can ill afford to lose many games along the way to wrap up the 2020-2021 season. With the three games in hand now plus the two late makeup games, the Blueshirts are potentially looking at a 10 point differential which may be too much to overcome.

Follow Frank on Twitter at @RangerProud.

New York Islanders: Analyzing the Seattle expansion draft

New York Islanders, Anders Lee

The New York Islanders have a big decision to make when the Seattle Kraken joins the league. The rules must be followed as such. Each team has the choice to either protect 7 forward, 3 defensemen, and 1 goalie. Or, they can protect 8 total skaters and 1 goalie. It makes sense for the Islanders to follow the first option, as they have more talented skaters up and down the roster. The Islanders also have an exempt list full of young players who they don’t have to protect because they can’t be chosen. This list contains players like Oliver Wahlstrom, Ilya Sorokin, Noah Dobson, Anatoly Golyshev, Bode Wilde, and Samuel Bolduc. There are obviously more players on that list, but those are the key ones. Who will the Islanders protect?

Forwards

The Islanders can only protect 7 forward, and most of their choices are pretty obvious. Anders Lee, Mat Barzal, JG Pageau, Brock Nelson, Jordan Eberle, and Anthony Beauvillier. This leaves one spot left with a bunch of forwards vying for that spot. I don’t believe the Kraken would take Casey Cizikas just because his contract is expiring this year. This leaves Josh Bailey, Matt Martin, Cal Clutterbuck, Leo Komarov, Michael Dal Colle, and Kieffer Bellows left. The Kraken aren’t going to take Clutterbuck, Martin, Komarov, or Dal Colle. If you’re looking at the most valuable, it’s a decision between Bellows and Bailey. Honestly, I’d leave Bailey unprotected; he hasn’t really ever met that potential that he had when he was drafted. It’s possible he doesn’t get picked because of his large contract.

Defensemen

This decision is pretty easy due to the fact that Noah Dobson doesn’t have to be protected. Ryan Pulock and Adam Pelech are going to be protected, not that shocked anyone. Scott Mayfield, Nick Leddy, Andy Greene, Thomas Hickey, Parker Wotherspoon, and Sebastian Aho are left. Based on age and value, Andy Greene and Thomas Hickey are not getting picked at all. Parker Wotherspoon and Sebastian Aho are unproven, so they’re out of the question. Nick Leddy 100% gets protected over Scott Mayfield based on production.

Goalies

It’s not even a question of who the Islanders are going to protect. It’s between their franchise goalie Semyon Varlamov and their third-string goalie Cory Schneider. At the end of the day, Cory Schneider is not getting protected, but he most likely won’t get picked.