The Islanders have a deal in place to send their first-round pick to Vegas to steer the expansion franchise toward selecting a designated player off the Isles’ unprotected list, two NHL sources confirmed to Newsday on Monday.
TSN first reported the existence of the deal.
The player designated for selection is still unknown, though clearly the goal for general manager Garth Snow is to clear some salary-cap space to upgrade the team’s roster before next season.
The deal also includes a third piece going to Vegas. There is a strong possibility that it would be Mikhail Grabovski, who has yet to be cleared to play after suffering a concussion in March of 2016. Grabovski’s $5-million cap hit is on the books for one more season for the Islanders, who are already within $4 million and change of the coming season’s $75-million salary cap.
Multiple reports indicate that Snow has been working the phones to try and secure a high-end offensive talent to bolster the team behind John Tavares.
The Avalanche’s Matt Duchene has been the Isles’ most coveted target, along with Oilers wing Jordan Eberle. The Isles also have been in talks with the Canadiens regarding forward Alex Galchenyuk. All three of those teams are searching for defensemen and the Islanders are believed willing to surrender Travis Hamonic to upgrade their offense.
A league source told Newsday that Tavares, who is entering the final year of his contract, has indicated he is willing to wait on signing an extension and feels more confident in the direction the Islanders are headed.
When the season ended, it was believed Snow needed to get Tavares’ signature on an extension by July 1 or risk losing the team’s star and captain for nothing when his deal is up after next season. The Isles would also have likely entertained trading Tavares in the coming weeks in that scenario, had Tavares said he wasn’t interested in signing long-term.
Now, he appears willing to wait and possibly head into the final year of his deal without an extension, though not to bolster his chances of leaving the team.