Isles’ list sign of deal with Vegas
With the Islanders stockpiling young talent for a decade, they now have run into a moderate problem — and it could end up costing them a high draft pick.
Every NHL team had their lists of protected players for the expansion draft released Saturday, and the nine players the Islanders included left them with a few key players still exposed. As Vegas Golden Knights general manager George McPhee prepares to take one player off every roster, his Islanders counterpart, Garth Snow, was put in a tough spot, and it seems that he might have a trade in place.
Because Brock Nelson, Ryan Strome and Calvin de Haan are all exposed, it would seem that Snow has something arranged with McPhee to keep those three players from being drafted. One report from TSN said the deal is for a first-round pick.
No deal will officially go down until Wednesday, when the draft is set to take place. But it seems the market for what will keep McPhee away from numerous young players sits at a pretty high bar.
Snow did decide to protect five defensemen — the most of any team — with Johnny Boychuk, Travis Hamonic, Nick Leddy, Adam Pelech and Ryan Pulock. De Haan is more important than either Pelech or Pulock, so his exposure makes it clear there is something in place to keep him from being drafted.
The protected forwards are John Tavares, Anders Lee and Andrew Ladd, while the lone goalie protected is Thomas Greiss. That leaves the former No. 1 netminder, Jaroslav Halak, exposed, but his $4.5 million salary-cap hit for next season makes him an unlikely pick for Vegas.
The Rangers protected list was as expected, with the most notable players exposed being Michael Grabner, Jesper Fast, Oscar Lindberg and Antti Raanta. Any one of the four could be taken by McPhee. Their protected players are forwards Rick Nash, Derek Stepan, Kevin Hayes, Chris Kreider, J.T. Miller, Mats Zuccarello and Mika Zibanejad; defensemen Ryan McDonagh, Marc
Staal, and Nick Holden; and goalie Henrik Lundqvist.
The Blueshirts played it pretty simple going into this draft, not overreacting and trading someone just to make sure they didn’t lose him — most notably Raanta, who had proven this past season to be a possible No. 1 option on another team. Lindberg might be the most likely to be chosen because of his offensive upside, but he also might be the easiest to replace for the Rangers, who need the penalty killing of Fast and Grabner next season.
The Devils protected four defensemen: Andy Greene, John Moore,
Mirco Mueller (who the Devils just traded for Saturday in a deal with the Sharks) and Damon Severson. They also protected forwards Taylor Hall, Adam Henrique, Kyle Palmieri, and Travis Zajac, along with franchise netminder Cory Schneider.
The NHL announced the salary-cap limit for next season will be $75 million, up from this past season’s $73 million. The low point is $55.4 million and the adjusted midpoint is $65.2 million.