We interrupt your normal schedule of NHL expansion draft rosterbation to bring you the following pertinent information, courtesy of a few sources.
No doubt sick of Islanders fans attempting to ruin his much deserved vacation as the team's sole beatwriter, Newsday's Arthur Staple clarified this morning with the NHL the status of defenseman Ryan Pulock, and whether or not the team will have to protect him in next summer's expansion draft.
Short Answer: Yes
NHL deputy commish Bill Daly confirmed to me via email today that Ryan Pulock must be protected in the expansion draft. #Isles— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) July 25, 2016
Longer Answer: A player must be protected should he have a certain number of "professional games" (including AHL games) played before his 20th birthday, should that come before this December 31st.
Per General Fanager, who keyed off of Staple's info:
With @StapeNewsday confirmation on Pulock #NHLExpansion status, we have confirmed the following clarification: pic.twitter.com/N7u4dtr42g— General Fanager (@generalfanager) July 25, 2016
That tweet includes a list of players in the same boat as Pulock, like Detroit's Anthony Mantha. Winging It In Motown's JJ, who's about a billion times smarter than me and knows the CBA better than anybody including some NHL general managers, broke down the fine print that makes all the difference and how the NHL can get away with that.
The thing here is that this is completely allowed because expansion draft eligibility is not something that's specifically laid out in the CBA. The NHL and NHLPA may use CBA definitions as guidance for how to decide these things, but unless the NHLPA has a specific problem with changing five words in a definition, this is perfectly allowable.
The new, still as yet unnamed Las Vegas team will have their expansion draft after next season, and GM George McPhee must select one player from each of the league's existing 30 clubs. Teams can protect either seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie or any combination of eight skaters and one goalie. Players with no move clauses must be protected.
There's no (or, at least, very little) telling who Snow will have on his list a year from now. But Pulock, who became a regular in the playoffs for the Islanders this year at 21-years old and has already showed glimpses of the power play prowess the team has been advertising since they took him 15th overall in the 2013 draft, will almost assuredly be among the protected.
That means that, most likely, Calvin de Haan and Thomas Hickey, who will probably be Pulock's regular partner this season, will end up getting exposed in the expansion draft. Losing either of the steady, underrated defenders will be a problem for the Islanders if they're not replaced somehow. Or it could mean that forwards Anders Lee or Brock Nelson, both slightly older than Pulock, could be left on the stoop.
There are a ton of permutations, problems, options and time between now and the day Snow and all 29 of his colleagues has to make these decisions. In any event, someone from the pool the Islanders spent years gathering through their John Tavares rebuild era will be a Las Vegas SomethingorOther by this time next year.
Maybe McPhee, a friend and former agent who spent the last year or so as a special advisor to the Islanders and Snow, can, you know, maybe, like, do his old team a solid and select someone little less likely to impact the team on the ice.
Is it too late to get Brian Strait back from Winnipeg*?
*-this is a joke. Mostly.