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Islanders Expose Bailey, Eberle in Seattle Expansion Draft

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Something more must be going on. Right?

Tampa Bay Lightning v New York Islanders - Game Six
Temptation.
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The New York Islanders offered a major surprise as the NHL released all 30 eligible teams’ protection lists for the Seattle Kraken expansion draft (Las Vegas, the most recent expansion team, is exempt).

While it was thought the Isles might leave at least one highl-dollar member of their core exposed as they continue to navigate a cap crunch, they went ahead and exposed two: both Josh Bailey and Jordan Eberle are both exposed, while “Identity Line” members Cal Cluttterbuck and Matt Martin get coveted protected slots.

On its face — though we know Lou Lamoriello often has more up it’s sleeve — it’s a bit mind-boggling. This means either a side deal is being worked out with Seattle, or the Isles are tempting the expansion Kraken to take one high-dollar contract off their cap so the Isles can position themselves for key RFA re-signings (plus UFA Casey Cizikas) and possibly other big UFA moves.

Either way, it’s both frightening and exciting, which is more than can usually be said for mid-July.

Teams could protect 11 players via the 7-forward, 3-defensemen, 1-goalie format, or else nine via a 4-4-1 format.

Protected:

Forwards: Mathew Barzal, Anthony Beauvillier, Cal Clutterbuck, Anders Lee, Matt Martin, Brock Nelson, J-G Pageau

Defensemen: Adam Pelech, Ryan Pulock, Scott Mayfield

Goalie: Semon Varlamov

Key Exemptions: Ilya Sorokin, Oliver Wahlstrom

Key Unprotecteds

Forwards: Josh Bailey, Jordan Eberle, Leo Komarov, Kieffer Bellows, Otto Koivula, Michael Dal Colle

Defense: Andy Greene (re-signed yesterday, in part for this purpose), plus Thomas Hickey, Sebastian Aho, Mitch Vande Sompel, Parker Wotherspoon

What’s next? A couple of days of angst and intrigue.