The next month figures to be busy for the Islanders, who have to submit their protected list for the expansion draft a week from Saturday ahead of the Vegas Golden Knights making their picks on June 21.
The NHL draft follows on June 23-24, then the five-day contact period for pending free agents, then the July 1 start of free agency — also the first day the Isles could sign John Tavares to an extension.
Plus, there’s a host of trade talk swirling around the NHL, with Isles general manager Garth Snow involved in lots of talk already.
“We have had numerous discussions,” Snow told Newsday. “There is a lot of talk going on. Any time we can try to make our team better, we will.”
In the expansion draft, teams can protect either seven forwards, three defensemen and a goaltender or eight total skaters plus a goaltender. The Islanders have some real decisions to make, especially among their defensemen, where all nine Isles who suited up this past season are eligible to be selected. The Knights will take one player from each of the other 30 rosters.
“I think it’s a good thing to have to make those kinds of decisions,” Snow said. “It means we have a pretty good depth of talent. There’s a lot of teams that would love to have that problem.”
The Islanders have two veteran players, Andrew Ladd and Johnny Boychuk, who have no-move clauses and must either grant the team a one-time waiver to be left exposed or be on the protected list. Both have the sort of lengthy contracts and miles on them that would make Vegas GM George McPhee leery of picking either one, but asking a player to waive a no-move could create other headaches between management and player.
Snow said he has no intention to ask either Ladd or Boychuk to waive right now. “That’s not our thinking at this time,” he said.
Snow declined to discuss trade rumors or the status of contract talks with Calvin de Haan, the most high-profile unsigned Islander (he’s a restricted free agent), or provide any update on where things stand with Tavares.
The Islanders captain still has one year left on his contract and sources outside the Islanders have been consistent the past few weeks in saying they believe Tavares will agree to an extension with the team.