Josh Bailey deserved to see things through with the Islanders

The expansion draft has come and gone, and the Islanders didn’t come out of it too worse for the wear.

Jordan Eberle is no longer an Islander after he wound up being the odd man out.  He was selected by the Kraken after multiple reports surfaced yesterday morning he was their pick.

The loss of him will sting. The Isles are now down a top-six forward and one of their more valuable skill players.

Eberle did record 169 points in 272 games for the organization — add on to that 34 points in the postseason — and formed fantastic chemistry with star forward Mathew Barzal. The two had been linked together since Barzal’s rookie season when they were paired on the first line following the 31-year-old being acquired from the Edmonton Oilers in the offseason in exchange for Ryan Strome.

Eberle being taken did come as a bit of a surprise. There was chatter and speculation — and let me tell you there was plenty among the pundits — leading up to the draft with Kraken plucking Josh Bailey instead of him. Both forwards were left off the  Islanders’ protected list on Sunday, with Bailey being a bigger shocker than Eberle.

It was a bit of a gamble on g.m. Lou Lamoriello’s part which obviously paid off, albeit a scary one. Reports came out today that the Kraken were mulling hard between whether to choose Bailey over Eberle and vice versa.

Things might get a lot clearer about whether Lamoriello and Seattle g.m. Ron Francis had agreed to a side deal to maybe steer the Kraken away from Bailey once the roster freeze is over this afternoon.

But the fact of the matter remains, Bailey is still an Islander. And there’s no question, he deserved to still be here if and when the Islanders finally win it all.

I shouldn’t have to tell you how much losing Bailey would have been a slap in the face to not just the player, but the team. Nothing against Eberle, but Bailey’s contributions to the franchise warrant him being here for the long-haul. And they go beyond the ice.

Bailey has been in blue and orange for the past 13 years — he was drafted 9th overall back in 2008 — and has stuck with the organization through all the trials and tribulations. He’s never complained. Never thrown his teammates under the bus. And always lead by example. It’s a reason he wears an “A” on his sweater.

Even when he had a chance to test free agency back in 2018, Bailey took a team-friendly deal to keep him with organization for six more season.

Outside of captain Anders Lee, there might not be a more-respected player in the Islanders’ dressing room the past few years. The 31-year-old might be soft-spoken, but he’s always let his play speak for him. Ask head coach Barry Trotz, who over time has trusted Bailey in any situation. Beyond that, the playoffs have become his time to shine. No Islander forward has had more points in the postseason (39) than Bailey the past three years.

“With Bails, it’s all IQ,” Trotz has said in the past in his praise of the veteran forward. “He’s a cerebral player. He makes really intelligent reads and they’ll be some things, they’re more subtle. You’ve got to watch him closely. If you’re just looking for the wow factor, you probably don’t see that in Josh. What you do see is all the subtleties and sort of the thinking man’s player.”

Losing Bailey would have taken a large chunk out of what has turned the Islanders into the competitive squad they have become. Replacing him would have been a difficult task. Then think about filling that hole with how close the Isles are to within a title. That said, Bailey has earned the right to stick with the franchise till the end and see it all culminate in a Stanley Cup.

Seeing a teammate leave is never an easy thing. It’s a sad day for all involved. Just ask Mathew Barzal.

Barzal, Jordan Eberle’s fellow “Gary” — an inside joke the two teammates came up with that fans caught on to — bid farewell to him on social media in a heartfelt post.

This expansion draft is a whole new ballgame for Islanders from first one in 2017

The day of the expansion draft has finally arrived. For the first time since 2017, when the Vegas Golden Knights were entering the league, several big names will leave their respective clubs to fill out the inaugural Seattle Kraken roster.

It should be a stressful day with plenty of intense moments in both the lead-up and when the selection are finally made. And these next 12 hours might just be that for the Islanders. Why?

Well, the last time the expansion draft had any significant meaning to them, the organization was completely different. They had just missed the playoffs for the first time in two years, Garth Snow was still running the team, and their roster wasn’t as deep as it is today. All you need to do is go look at Snow’s protection list, and you’ll realize how much has changed.

Snow also had made the bold decision to swing a deal with Vegas — which included Mikhail Grabovski, prospect Jake Bischoff (who?), a 2017 1st-rounder and 2019-second rounder — for them to stay away from d-man Adam Pelech.

At the time Pelech wasn’t even considered anything valuable, but has since become one of the best defenders in the league. That deal remains one of the two last salvos of Snow’s reign upstairs.

But back then there was never a feeling then the Isles had a chance to lose someone that could really hurt them. Now the shoe is on the other foot.

There is a nervousness among many that they could very well lose Josh Bailey. The longest-tenured forward on the Isles’ roster was surprisingly left unprotected when the team’s list was revealed this past Sunday. He along with Jordan Eberle — the player many are hoping/expecting the Kraken to take — have been acknowledged as primary candidates.

Reports from this morning indicated that the Kraken would be going with Eberle over Bailey, but that can only be confirmed once the draft happens tonight. Still, possibly losing either player will hurt.

Both have played a huge role in the Isles’ turnaround the past few seasons, which has resulted in back-to-back conference final/semifinal appearances.

Bailey is close to playing 1,000 games with the franchise and is already on some of the all-time lists among players who have worn the blue and orange. He is also one of the most-respected leaders in the locker room and someone head coach Barry Trotz has praised overwhelmingly since he took over behind the bench.

The Isles being a good team now means they have players who are attractive to be taken away. Times have definitely changed from where they were at this point from the previous expansion draft.

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.