With the expansion draft forcing difficult decisions, the New York Islanders would like to move rather than outright lose either Calvin de Haan or fellow defenseman Travis Hamonic.
That’s according to a free-flowing conversation about league-wide possibilities with TSN’s Darren Dreger on Montreal’s TSN 690:
“When you go through every team, there’s probably names that we’re not even aware of that might be surprising. But again, because of the expansion draft – and the Islanders to me are the most captivating because of Hamonic and because of Calvin de Haan. They would like to move one of those guys and I’m sure they would prefer to move Calvin De Haan so they can protect Travis Hamonic, but there’s a team that we’re going to watch closely here in the days ahead.”
See that and a longer transcript of Dreger on other league trade possibilities at FanRag.
That the Islanders are looking to avoid losing a key blueline asset for nothing is not surprising. That’s been a core part of expansion draft discussions, as they are one of the teams whose roster lines up in such a way that they are certain to lose a pretty important forward or defenseman.
These media insiders hate when their on-air musings are turned into “news,” so we can try to put Dreger’s comments in context: Sounds like there have been exploratory discussions, but the “preference” to move de Haan in order to protect Hamonic looks like speculation.
Sometimes we assume that’s the case because of Hamonic’s more “heart-and-soul” image and fan popularity — and he likely has more trade value — but he’s a right-handed shot who has struggled with injuries. (To be fair, de Haan had his injury troubles, but their recent health and on-ice trends have been in opposite directions.) And if protecting Ryan Pulock in the expansion draft is a reason to lose either de Haan or Hamonic, well Pulock’s right-handed shot slots right in.
Ultimately, the logical approach here is to shop for the best return for either of them, then see how that fits with the rest of their expansion draft protection plans. What everyone tends to overlook, however, is that if you get a good return on a player you move before the expansion draft...chances are that return will need to be protected, too.
But if, for example, dealing blueliner brought back a significant forward upgrade? Maybe you do that, protect the new forward, and then try to entice Vegas to pick a different exposed forward (e.g. many expect either Ryan Strome or Brock Nelson will be exposed) rather than the remaining defenseman.
And that is what makes this lead-up to the expansion draft fun: In between trying to gauge at what price Vegas will help them, each team is alternately playing speculative musical chairs with the players they’d rather not lose for nothing. But if you’re moving a player who’s desirable enough to be claimed, you’re likely taking a lesser value in return.
And even if you are resigned to which player you’ll lose in the draft...Vegas may already have a deal worked out to flip him to your rival.
Each team’s protection lists are due on Saturday. No trades will be allowed after 3 p.m. EDT that day.