We aren’t even a quarter of the way into this intensely busy and condensed part of the NHL’s offseason schedule, but already the Islanders have made two of the biggest headlines. More importantly, Lou Lamoriello’s moves over the past two days positions them to make more headlines, if they want to.
With the Isles now carving out about $12 million (plus Johnny Boychuk’s LTIR) in cap space, they finally have room to re-sign key RFAs, possibly UFAs (Casey Cizikas), and dabble in other bigger things. Everyone’s talking or dreaming of things like Gabriel Landeskog (UFA), Ryan Suter (UFA), Zach Parise (likely cheap and storybook UFA) or Vladimir Tarasenko (highly paid and recently very injured trade bait, more on that below), but with Lamoriello there could always be things coming from left field.
Anyway, the NHL trade/signing freeze hit yesterday followed by the deadline for Expansion Draft protected lists to be turned in. This morning we’ll hear for sure which way Lamoriello’s gone on the latter when protection lists are announced, but even that won’t necessarily tell us the whole story: Side moves could be afoot.
Meanwhile, some were suggesting Jordan Eberle could be exposed for cap reasons, but if he’s protected (more likely, surely...surely?!) that doesn’t mean he’ll remain; he could be an attractive trade piece if the Islanders are shopping big.
It’s going to be an interesting rest of the month, for sure.
- Holy cow! The Islanders found someone to take Andrew Ladd’s contract. (And it’s not like there were many teams that could afford a cap mule, but of course the Coyotes...) It’s costly, but not debilitating. [LHH]
- And it gives the Isles major options to be creative and even go big-fish hunting in free agency or via trade. [Athletic]
- In addition to the trades, they re-signed Andy Greene, fulfilling the requirement to expose a defenseman in the Expansion Draft and of course bringing the old man back for another run (unless he’s claimed). [Newsday]
- Coyotes fans are naturally happy to restock their draft cupboard (particularly after they lost some picks due to sanctions for illegal prospect-stoking under their former GM). [Five For Howling]
Bill Armstrong tells reporters that the #coyotes hope Andrew Ladd can be a culture-changer/leader for them. Adds that his playing time will have to be earned, though.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) July 17, 2021
- One of the possible Islanders targets, Vladimir Tarasenko, will be exposed by the Blues in the Expansion Draft. That means essentially that Seattle — who aren’t cap pressed — gets to shop him (and his $7.5 million cap hit and questionable shoulder) around, or even keep him if they want to claim him. I don’t want the Isles to go after him, but if they do they can try to use Seattle as a broker. However, the Blues also are likely to expose Vince Dunn, who is a more flexible trade piece. [STLtoday]
- The Tarasenko-Blues relationship appears to be worsening, with player apparently in disbelief that he hasn’t been traded yet (perhaps not understanding the league or his salary/injury combo), while other sources say there is very limited league-wide interest in the player. [Athletic]
- In other big-name exposures, Carey Price has reportedly waived his no-move clause so that he could be exposed in the Expansion Draft (and allow the Canadiens to protect Jake Allen). Price would still have a no-trade clause, however, and he’s signed forever, so probably a safe risk for the Habs to make. [TSN | Sportsnet]
- Speaking of goalies, the Kraken look set to claim and sign Panthers goalie Chris Driedger, a great story who is surplus to Florida’s needs (well, in part because of the Sergei Bobrovsky monster contract). [TSN]
- The Flyers solved multiple challenges by acquiring Ryan Ellis from the Predators for Phil Myers and Nolan Patrick. [Broad Street Hockey]
- The Predators then flipped Patrick to Vegas for Cody Glass. [On the Forecheck]
- The Rangers acquired the rights to Barclay Goodrow from the Lightning, and sent Brett Howden to Vegas. [Blueshirt Banter]
- The Leafs acquired Jared McCann from the Penguins, expecting him to be an upgrade over Alexander Kerfoot, who is expected to be exposed in the Expansion Draft. [PPP | Sportsnet]
- Meanwhile, in retention news, the Stars went the max 8 years to retain Miro Heiskanen for $67.6 million. [NHL]
- The Stars also traded Jason Dickinson to the Canucks. [NHL]