The Islanders protection list was a one of a kind in the NHL when the lists were announced Sunday morning – They were the only team to protect 5 defenseman.
And none of the 5 were named Calvin de Haan.
The Isles protected John Tavares, Andrew Ladd, Anders Lee, Johnny Boychuk, Nick Leddy, Travis Hamonic, Adam Pelech, Ryan Pulock and Thomas Greiss.
The rest of the exposed players were Josh Bailey, Steve Bernier, Eric Boulton, Jason Chimera, Casey Cizikas, Cal Clutterbuck, Stephen Gionta, Ben Holmstrom, Bracken Kearns, Nikolay Kulemin, Brock Nelson, Shane Prince, Alan Quine, Ryan Strome, Johan Sundstrom, Calvin de Haan, Matt Finn, Jesse Graham, Thomas Hickey, Loic Leduc, Scott Mayfield, Dennis Seidenberg, JF Berube, Christopher Gibson, and Jaroslav Halak
Leaving de Haan, Nelson, Bailey, and Cizikas unprotected leaves the notion that Garth Snow has a pre-arranged deal with George McPhee to not take at least 2 of them, meaning there is no risk in leaving a de Haan or Nelson unprotected. This is the only explanation for protecting Adam Pelech, who though he is 22, had poor possession numbers with just a 47% CF and was a 7th defenseman for most of the season. It’s possible the Isles think highly of him and they want to make sure his future is in Brooklyn, but from what Isles fans have watched, better players were exposed
The question for Garth Snow is “is it worth giving up a (potentially high) pick for Vegas to lay off of Calvin de Haan and Brock Nelson?” Probably, but then they still lose one of Bailey, Cizikas or Hickey. It may be worth the gamble, but the Isles are still going to lose a valuable player off their roster regardless.
In many people’s mind, the Islanders didn’t take the best rout in protecting their best players from Vegas, but it is all possible and likely that Garth Snow has a deal in place with the Golden Knights to not take a certain player or players.
We’ll find out Wednesday.
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