New York Islanders Will Lose an Impact Player Tomorrow Night
From MSG to the arena-formerly-known-as-Nassau Coliseum, the New York Islanders are now on the clock.
For those who read my earlier piece on the New York Rangers in the 2021 Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft, welcome back. For those, like Charlie Voelker, who are here because of the words "New York Islanders" in the title, I welcome you. The Islanders, along with every other team in the NHL except the Vegas Golden Knights, will be "exposing" a group of their players, who will be eligible to be chosen by the Seattle Kraken to join their franchise next season.
Each team may also protect a certain amount of their players, which forbids the Kraken from selecting them. Certain players are also considered exempt from the draft, if they have yet to play the necessary amount of games in the NHL.
While the Rangers are in a relatively safe situation, the Islanders may not be so lucky. This is how I see it working out for them.
As is customary, here is the list of players who are exempt from the draft for the Islanders:
There are less familiar names on this list for the Islanders than there were for the Rangers, and that's for a specific reason. The Islanders went to the semifinals of the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season, while the Rangers are still preparing to be a contender. Therefore, less young players are on the everyday roster.
So, here's who the Islanders could have protected for the draft. It's quite the list:
Truth be told, I had to edit together two screenshots. That's how many players the Islanders had eligible to be chosen. The players without checkmarks next to their names are the players that the Islanders have chosen not to protect, and the Kraken will have the chance to take.
There are a few groups of players on this list. Group A is the group of established veterans, who make more money than the Islanders want to pay them. That's where Jordan Eberle, Josh Bailey, and to a lesser degree, Thomas Hickey, fit in. On the other hand, there are the young players who haven't quite taken their game to the NHL level. That's where Kieffer Bellows, Michael Dal Colle and Josh Ho-Sang fit.
Out of that group of players, my choice falls between Josh Bailey and Kieffer Bellows. The former has been with the Islanders since 2008, has played over 900 games in the NHL, and brings with him a 71 games of playoff hockey experience. Oh, and he scored 50 points in those 71 games.
Bellows, however, is a recent first round draft pick of the Islanders, and will not cost nearly as much money as Bailey will. The Kraken have already stated that their plan is to spend the least amount of money possible this season, giving them flexibility to sign players and make trades.
For that reason, Kieffer Bellows will join the Seattle Kraken.