The Islanders didn’t end up losing much in Wednesday night’s expansion draft beyond the 15th overall pick they’d promised to Vegas to keep the newest NHL club from selecting any of the Isles’ coveted players that were left unprotected.
There were some other elements in the deal, most notably Mikhail Grabovski, the injured center whose $5 million salary-cap hit for next season will now help Vegas reach the cap floor and help the Islanders by coming off their books. The Islanders also sent a 2019 second–round pick and defense prospect Jake Bischoff to the Golden Knights as the means of losing a player of little consequence to next season’s roster.
Vegas selected goaltender J-F Berube, a pending unrestricted free agent whose two-year tenure with the Islanders was certainly a strange one. The 25-year-old Berube was claimed off waivers from the Kings at the start of the 2015-16 season and, outside of a brief conditioning stint in the AHL that season, Berube was on the Isles roster the entire time.
Berube made only 13 starts over two seasons and was headed out the door after becoming a Group VI free agent due to playing so few games.
The league-wide trade freeze is lifted at 8 a.m. Thursday and the Islanders, armed with more cap space and with a fully stocked roster, will resume trade talks in hopes of landing one or possibly two top-end forwards.
The Avalanche’s Matt Duchene, the Oilers’ Jordan Eberle and the Canadiens’ Alex Galchenyuk have all been discussed by GM Garth Snow. With the complicated expansion draft deal done, Snow is on a mission to improve his team.
Travis Hamonic, who is rumored to be part of some trade talks, won the NHL Foundation Player Award on Tuesday for his work on and off the ice with the Islanders. At each Islanders home game, Hamonic’s D-Partner Foundation hosts a young boy or girl who has lost a parent.
Isles home opener on Oct. 7. The Islanders will host the Sabres at Barclays Center on Saturday, Oct. 7 in their 2017-18 home opener, announced yesterday. The Isles’ season begins a night earlier in Columbus. The rest of the season schedule will be released Thursday.