What happens in Vegas…Islanders Edition

Get ready for some wheeling and dealing the next few days in Las Vegas, and I’m not talking about at the casinos.

The NHL’s newest team, the Las Vegas Golden Knights, will reveal their Expansion Draft picks at the NHL Awards Dinner on Wednesday night at 8pm. The Golden Knights must pick one unprotected player for each NHL team, excluding the players listed on the Protected List.

The crazy part, the other 30 NHL teams can actually work out a deal with the Golden Knights GM George McPhee to have them NOT select a player they weren’t able to protect, or to have them select a player who currently has a bad contract that a team would want to get out of. Another twist is that a team could ask McPhee to draft an eligible player from another team, and then trade them to said team. So say the Islanders wanted Bobby Ryan from Ottawa, they can work out a deal with McPhee to draft Ryan, and then trade him to the Islanders for a draft pick or another player.

The picks actually need to be submitted to the NHL office and NHLPA at 10am ET on Wednesday, so teams have less than 48 hours to negotiate with McPhee and the Golden Knights if they want to have a say in which player will get drafted from their team. (Also means that the NHL has about 1% chance of those picks not being leaked and making it 10 hours until the award show.) The are rumors galore on which teams already have a deal in place, or are working feverishly to get a deal done.

Here is the list of Islanders players who are currently exposed:

The fact that the Islander’s chose to protect Adam Pelech over Calvin de Haan, Thomas Hickey, Brock Nelson or Josh Bailey blows my mind. Isles GM Garth Snow has been trying his best to work out a deal for either Colorado’s Matt Duchene or Edmonton’s Jordan Eberle, but wasn’t able to get a deal done before the Trade Freeze occurred on Saturday.

As I mentioned above, there are rumors about teams working a deal with the Golden Knights, and the Islanders are one of those teams. There was some speculation floating around about trading the Islander’s first round pick (15th overall) in order to protect guys like De Haan and Nelson/Bailey from being drafted, but those are just rumors for now.

For what it’s worth, Yahoo Sports’ Greg Wyshynski has a Mock Expansion Draft posted in which the Golden Knights are selecting Casey Cizikas from the Islanders. Considering Cizikas is a 4th line player who is currently under contract for another 4 seasons at a bloated 3.5M for year, this would suggest that the Islanders would have some type of agreement in place with McPhee and the Golden Knights to take on Zeke and his contract for a draft pick and possibly another prospect.

If there was no deal in place, the top pick in my mind from the Islanders would be Calvin de Haan, who is a solid defensemen and is only 26 years old. It would be a shame to lose him, but not sure what the price would be to keep him, and if it is worth it.

For the rest of the NHL, there are some top name players that are eligible to draft, including Marc-Andre Fleury, James Neal, Jonathan Marchessault, Eric Staal, and Bobby Ryan.

The next 48 hours will certainly have fans all over the NHL biting their nails, and there are sure to be a plethora of deals coming through the wire.

-Mark

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