Three surprising players that could be traded in the next few months 

In less than six months, the entire shape of the NHL will be shifted. 

By that time, four major events will have passed: the trade deadline, the entry draft, free agency, and — most importantly — the expansion draft. 

The expansion draft is going to have huge ramifications on trades. In fact, it already has. Trades are at an all time low currently in the league, with no general manager moving a muscle due to the uncertainty ahead. 

As the days grow closer to March and then eventually June, trade chatter will be rampant. Due to protection lists being so limited this time around, some unusual names may pop up in trade rumors, including the following three. 

Brent Seabrook, D, Chicago Blackhawks 

The Blackhawks signed Seabrook to a massive eight year contract not too long ago. The deal carries a $6.875 million cap hit until the defenseman is 39 years old. 

There is a huge risk taken when signing a player, especially a defenseman, to a large contract that takes him that late in his career. Seabrook’s play is already declining which isn’t a good look for Chicago in the first year. 

You have to wonder if Stan Bowman will gauge the market on this one. It frees up a lot of cap space for the team (potentially for Panarin in two years), as well as gives young players such as Ville Pokka, Trevor van Riemsdyk, and Gustav Forsling a chance at more minutes. 

Trading Seabrook would also allow the Blackhawks to protect one of Pokka, the main piece in the Nick Leddy trade, or van Riemsdyk from Las Vegas. 

One hitch, however, is that Seabrook has a full no movement clause. The fit would have to be prefect for the team acquiring him as well as the player. 

Stan Bowman would be wise to try to find a way to wiggle out of this deal before it is too late. Seabrook still has value in the league, but there is no saying how long that will last for due to his play style. 

Nate Schmidt, D, Washington Capitals 

Schmidt had an impressive first full year with Washington last season, boasting two goals and 16 points in 72 games. The smooth skating defenseman proved to be a reliable asset in both ends of the rink for the team. 

This season, though, hasn’t been as great. Schmidt has found himself in Barry Trotz’s doghouse, being a healthy scratch on numerous occasions. 

With the Capitals likely protecting John Carlson, Matt Niskanen, and Dmitri Orlov, Nate Schmidt would be exposed to Las Vegas. As a 25 year old defender, that could be very enticing for former Capitals general manager George McPhee. 

Although his value may not be overly high, Schmidt would be a good acquisition for many teams. He has all the fundamental characteristics of being a good top-four NHL player, including being a good skater and having good instincts. 

This’ll be an interesting one to keep an eye on. If Alzner is re-signed, Orlov will be as well. 

Andreas Athanasiou, C, Detroit Red Wings

Like Schmidt, this is another player who had an impressive season last year but has seemingly fallen out of favor with his current club. 

Athanasiou is one of the quickest players in the league and has amazing hands to go along with that. He is routinely scoring highlight level goals, albeit being a little streaky at times. 

With the emergence of Anthony Mantha, the Red Wings have a glut of forwards to be protected for the expansion draft. Zetterberg, Nielsen, Tatar, Nyquist, Mantha, Abdelkader make up for six of the seven spots.

It’s entirely possible that Athanasiou could be the seventh player protected, but you cannot rule a trade out of the picture. Despite his tendencies to disappear at times, there would be a boatload of teams interested in Athanasiou’s services. 

Riley Sheehan would be another name to keep an eye on depending how things progress. 

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles 

Looking back at the Jack Capuano era in New York 

The Jack Capuano era, which started on November 15, 2010, is officially over in New York. 

The head coach was relieved from his duties by Garth Snow on Tuesday afternoon, finishing a turbulent run of highs and lows within the organization. 

When Capuano took over in 2010, the Islanders were in a very dark place. They had drafted cornerstone superstar John Tavares one year earlier, but had managed to finished bottom five in the league in 2010-2011 after a disastrous start under Scott Gordon. The 2011-2012 campaign was not any better, as the Isles picked fourth overall in the draft. 

However, in the lockout shortened 2012-2013 season, Jack Capuano managed to lead the Islanders to the playoffs as the #8 seed. They pushed the dominant Pittsburgh Penguins to six games, providing hope for a pesky team that had just made its first playoff appearance in a handful of years. 

The next season was more of the same however. The Islanders traded Matt Moulson, a first round pick and a second round pick for a Thomas Vanek early in the season, but still finished bottom five. Capuano had much of the same roster, with only Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Peter Regin being the offseason acquisitions. Capuano’s future was in doubt back then, but the organization continued to show faith in the head coach and kept him around. 

In the fall of 2014, after a pitiful finish the year prior, Garth Snow went out and acquired Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy. These two moves were franchise altering, as the Islanders compiled a 100 point season in their final year at Nassau Coliseum. They wound up losing to the Capitals in seven games that postseason. 

The success came again in 2015-2016, with another 100 point season. This time, however, the Isles advanced past round one in the playoff by defeating the Florida Panthers. They were eventually smoked out by Tampa Bay in five games, which was marked by Jon Cooper’s impressive job of out-coaching Capuano. 

On July 1st of that same year, Charles Wang relinquished majority ownership of the team to John Ledecky and Scott Malkin. The new owners came in and promised to make the Islanders great once more and to add a fifth banner to the rafters. 

In this first year, things have not been going as planned. The Islanders sit last in the Eastern Conference, despite only being eight points out of the playoffs. This resulted in the firing of Capuano, who, admittedly by Garth Snow, was not going to be back as head coach next season. 

You could describe Capuano’s tenure with the New York Islanders in a number of ways. 

From one aspect, you could look at him as the coach who endured seven years here and accelerated the team out of the dark ages. Truth be told — whether you liked him or not — Capuano lead the Islanders to three playoff appearances in the recent four years and put together back-to-back 100 point seasons. 

The flip side of the coin is Capuano was never a coach that was going to take the team to the next step. It’s doubtful the Islanders were going to win a Stanley Cup under the current regime. 

Perhaps a big reason why fans, and maybe management, were so irked with Capuano over his time here was his treatment of rookies. Brock Nelson was a healthy scratch multiple times early in his career. Ryan Strome went through the same thing in recent seasons, which even included a trip down to the AHL in 2015. Recently, it’s been Anthony Beauvillier in the doghouse. 

The most notable of the list, however, is Nino Neiderreiter. The Swiss right winger was continually put with the likes of Jay Pandolfo and Marty Reasoner when he was playing on the team. This resulted in him demanding a trade and eventually being moved to Minnesota. You have to wonder how different the Islanders roster would look if Neiderreiter had been played to his strengths. 

In all, it’s been a bumpy ride. It was time to move on. The Islanders have over eight full months to decide on a new coach for next season. 

The most interesting part, though, is that this may not even be the end of the changes. 

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

Five players who are likely to be moved at the 2017 NHL trade deadline 

The trade deadline is almost upon us, and so far it is unclear what will happen when it officially rolls around. With expansion on the horizon, trades are at an all time low. The market is stagnant. However, that could change when teams feel the crunch before playoff time. Here are five players likely to move at or before the February 28th trade deadline. 

1. Jarome Iginla, Colorado Avalanche

The ex-Calgary Flames captain bounced around for some time in the NHL before landing a four year contract with Colorado. He has reached the last year of that deal, but things are not going well in the Mile High City between player and team. 

Iginla only has five goals and 11 points in 39 games this season. The 39 year old right winger has lost a considerable amount of speed and skill over the years. 

Despite all that, Iginla can be a valuable asset for a team in the playoff hunt. He provides a great deal of leadership and still has the scoring touch in him that can be revitalized. 

If the Flames stay in the race in the Pacific, a trade back “home” would be quite the story. Montreal makes sense as well.  

2. Martin Hanzal, Arizona Coyotes

Things are not much better in Arizona than they are in Colorado. The Coyotes sit second to last in the league despite having a promising 2015-2016 campaign. 

Lucky for them, they have a number of assets to deal at the deadline, one of them being Martin Hanzal. In the last year of his five year deal, Hanzal, 29, carries a $3.1 million cap hit. 

Although he does not put up a large amount of points, Hanzal is revered for his two-way game. His career high in points came last season with 41. 

Hanzal is the best fit for any team looking for center help at the deadline. Minnesota maybe?

3. Michael Stone, Arizona Coyotes

Stone is another asset the Coyotes hold. He is Arizona’s second best defenseman behind Oliver Ekman-Larsson and he has really solidified himself as a top-four mainstay in recent years. 

Stone would likely be classified as a defensive defenseman. He does not put up goals (he has zero in 27 games this year), but you get what you pay for and know what to expect night in and night out with Stone. 

I could see a team like Columbus or Edmonton being interested in Stone’s services.  

4. Ryan Spooner, Boston Bruins 

Spooner has had trouble finding his groove since entering the NHL with Boston, who don’t want to lose him for nothing on waivers. 

Spooner was a second round pick in 2010 and had a promising season with Boston last year tallying 49 points, but this season only has 19 points in 40 games. 

A big reason for this may be his shift to wing. With the likes of David Backes, Patrice Bergeron, and David Krejci down the middle, it has been tough for Spooner to gain a consistent center spot in the lineup. 

Spooner still has loads of potential and could thrive in the right situation. The price for him wouldn’t be high, but you certainly won’t get him for pennies on the dollar. 

Possible suitors include Vancouver and Carolina. 

5. Cody Franson

After holding out all the way until training camp when he was a free agent a few summers ago, Cody Franson eventually decided to sign a two year deal with Buffalo. That deal is now ending, and with the Sabres at the bottom of the standings, Franson may become subject to trade rumors. 

Franson’s time in Buffalo has not been anything to write home about. In 85 total games, he has five goals and 21 assists. However, he can still be utilized as an effective defenseman in a bottom-pair role on the correct team. 

Franson is an effective puck mover and is not too far removed from solid seasons with Toronto. 

He probably will not cost much from Buffalo, so it may be worth the risk. 

The Rangers could look at him, as could the Capitals. A Toronto reunion, if they stay in the race, would be interesting as well. 

The trade deadline is 52 days away. 

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles 

The shootout has become a necessary evil for hockey 

The ending of the World Juniors championship game between Canada and the United States has been causing quite a stir in the hockey world. 

The game was action packed and was tied 4-4 after regulation. The overtime was even better than the regulation, with both teams having a multitude of chances. The overtime looked more like a 3 on 3 than a 5 on 5 at some points. 

However, after the twenty minute extra period concluded, the game was to be decided by a five round shootout, which the USA won 1-0, giving them the gold medal. 

There was rightful outrage that a game of this magnitude was decided by a skills competition. Many comparisons were made such as a basketball game being decided by a dunk contest or a football game being decided by a field goal kicking contest. 

Although this may be true, the shootout has become a necessary evil for hockey. The shootout’s power can be abused at times, with last night’s game being a prime example, but it cannot be taken away from the game all together. The call for the shootout to be removed from hockey after last night’s game is a rash and foolish proposition. 

The players interests have to be kept in mind when it comes to overtime and shootout regulations. In an already grueling 82 game season, adding continuous overtime in the regular season is a death wish. 

Travel has to be taken into affect as well. If a team is playing in the first night of a back-to-back set, or playing in any road game for that matter, they cannot afford to be playing in continuous overtime until late in the night when they have a flight to catch. It simply does not make sense. 

The NHL has clearly taken steps to draw back in the use of shootouts over the past few seasons, with 3 on 3 overtime being the primary change. It would not be surprising to see them add an additional five minutes of 3 on 3 before a shootout in the near future. 

The shootout simply cannot be taken out of the game, but changes can be made, starting with the IIHF. The ending of last night’s championship was disrespectful to both players and fans after such a hard fought 80 minutes of battle. 

The fact of the matter is: changes can be made, but the shootout had to stay in the game for the sake of the players, whether fans like it or not. 

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

The first instances of expansion prep came this week via Montreal and Anaheim 

The expansion draft is looming. Teams have been planning for this event below the surface for months, but now that we are within half a year of the actual event, more public moves are beginning to be made. 

Previous expansion teams, such as the Columbus Blue Jackets, Minnesota Wild, and Nashville Predators, among others, took a while before becoming competitive teams. The NHL has ensured this is not the case with Las Vegas. 

For this draft, each current NHL team is allowed to protect only one goaltender, plus seven forwards and three defensemen OR any combination of eight skaters. Essentially, each team is either losing a decent goalie, a top-four defender, or a top-nine forward. First and second year professionals are exempt. 

Due to these tight restrictions, which include games played exposure requirements, teams will be forced to make moves to ensure they get something back for unprotected players rather than potentially losing them for nothing. Trades are at a standstill for now, but these next few months are certainly going be a tricky, yet extremely exciting one for general managers and fans alike. 

A way NHL teams are trying to weasel around requirements is signing current players, primarily upcoming free agents, to new deals in order to expose them. 

The Canadiens and Ducks are the first instance of this. 

Montreal re-signed goalie Al Montoya to a two year contract extension earlier this week. By doing this, they can expose Montoya to Las Vegas in the draft as their goalie requirement. Before the signing, Montreal would have been required to expose Carey Price. 

The Ducks did the same with Dustin Tokaraki. He was signed to a one year deal in order to keep John Gibson safe. 

Now that it is January, there are going to be plenty more of these signings. Players reaching both restricted free agency and unrestricted free agency on July 1st are now eligible to be re-signed by their current clubs. 

As time goes on, and as the expansion draft gets closer, there is going to be a lot of maneuvering taking place in the NHL. This is only the tip of the iceberg. 

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

The Five Most Influential Hockey Figures of 2016

The NHL, like any other sports league, has a large number of influential figures. These big names come from on the ice and off the ice. Many men and women had a large impact on hockey in 2016, but here are some who have had the biggest.

5. Jaromir Jagr

Jagr, the ageless wonder at 44 years old, has put together yet another successful year in the hockey world. He helped lead the young Panthers to the playoffs last season, although they lost in the first round. This season, the Panthers are not doing as well as the year prior, but Jagr is still putting up numbers. Currently, he sits at 21 points in 37 games. That is good for third on Florida’s roster.

The biggest accomplishment for Jagr in 2016 came recently. In a game against Boston on December 22, he assisted on Aleksander Barkov’s goal late in the third period. This assist propelled Jagr to 1,888 career points, which led him past Mark Messier for second all time. He still has almost 1,000 points to hit Gretzky, but second all time is no small feat.

2016 was a fantastic year for Jaromir Jagr, and who knows how many more years he will play.

4. John Chayka

The Coyotes finished in the middle of the pack in the 2015-2016 season, but still felt they needed a front office change. They fired Don Maloney just as the season ended, but did not name a new general manager for another couple of weeks.

The man that was later named was John Chayka, the youngest general manager in hockey history at 26 years old.

Chayka represented a revolutionary change in hockey philosophy. The divide between the “eye test” people and the “analytics” people is still evident, but Chayka’s hire proved how much weight analytics now has. His hire leads the way for a new wave of young minds to make their way into front offices.

As time goes on, there will be more hires like Chayka. The mindset of hockey is changing, and the numbers are not black and white anymore. John Chayka is just the beginning of that.

3. Connor McDavid

Drafted first overall by the Edmonton Oilers in 2015, expectations were astronomically high for Connor McDavid. So far he has produced on a large scale, despite being injured for a few months early in his career.

Currently, McDavid is arguably the second best player in the NHL behind Sidney Crosby. His electrifying speed and all around skill is something fun to watch every night. McDavid is case one of the NHL moving from size to speed.

Another accomplishment on McDavid’s list this past year is being named the youngest captain in NHL history, breaking Gabriel Landeskog’s record. McDavid also captained Team North America at the World Cup of Hockey.

2016 was just the start for Connor McDavid. He has many, many, many more years to come and the sky is only the limit for him. To be able to watch him progress as a player and captain is something the entire NHL and it’s fans should feel privileged to be watching.

2. Donald Fehr

Although he flies under the radar for a majority of the year, Donald Fehr has a massive pull on the strings of the NHL.

Fehr is the executive director of the National Hockey League Players Association. Recently, Fehr and the NHLPA rejected a CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) that would have seen the current agreement be extended in exchange for NHL players being able to participate in the 2018 Olympics in South Korea.

Participation in the Olympics has been an issue for some time now and a push-pull battle between Fehr, Bettman, and their associates. NHL players not going to the Olympics would be a huge loss for both the league’s popularity and the players and fans themselves.

It is unclear what is going to happen in terms of the Olympics, or even a potential lockout, but regardless Donald Fehr has an astronomical say in how things go and will continue to be an important figure in hockey for years to come, just as he was in 2016.

1. Bill Foley

There were not many, if any, bigger moves in NHL this season than the addition of the 31st franchise, the Vegas Golden Knights. The team was formally introduced in 2016, with their owner being none other than Bill Foley.

The expansion to Las Vegas is already having huge implications of the league. The expansion draft is looming, so trades are at a halt. Teams also have to figure out what they are going to do with players of no movement clauses.

The success of Las Vegas under Bill Foley is going to have a large impact on Gary Bettman’s legacy. Bettman has had his fair share of location controversies, including with the Islanders, Coyotes, and Thrashers, so he cannot afford a loss in Las Vegas.

Foley’s dedication to Las Vegas is going to reshape the league and change it forever. There is no saying how it is going to go or how good the team will be, but Foley is changing the landscape in the NHL forever.

Here’s to a good 2017. Thank you for all the continued support this year.

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

2017 NHL Mock Draft: Edition I

2017 NHL Mock Draft

Edition I

Standings as of December 18, 2016

Bear in mind, it is nearly impossible to predict at this point. There will be two or three more mock drafts coming out over the course of the year.

  1. Colorado: Timothy Liljegren, D
  2. Arizona: Nolan Patrick, C
  3. Vancouver: Eeli Tolvanen, LW/RW
  4. Las Vegas: Maxime Comtois, C/LW/RW
  5. Islanders: Owen Tippett, RW
  6. New Jersey: Gabe Vilardi, C
  7. Winnipeg: Klim Kostin, RW
  8. Buffalo: Nicholas Hague, D
  9. Toronto: Elias Petterson, C
  10. Nashville: Michael Rasmussen, C
  11. Dallas: Nico Hischier, C
  12. Detroit: Cal Foote, D
  13. Florida: Adam Ruzicka, C
  14. Tampa Bay: Casey Middlestadt, C
  15. Carolina: Kristian Vesalainen, LW
  16. Calgary: Kailer Yamamoto, LW/RW
  17. Los Angeles: Nikita Popugaev, LW
  18. Edmonton: Ryan Poehling, C
  19. Boston: Lias Andersson, C
  20. Anaheim: Shane Bowers, C
  21. Ottawa: Martin Necas, C
  22. Louis: Uhro Vaakanainen, D
  23. Minnesota: Henri Jokiharju, D
  24. Philadelphia: Antoine Morand, C
  25. Washington: Jacob Paquette, D
  26. Columbus: Dmitri Samorukov, D
  27. Rangers: Luke Martin, D
  28. Montreal: Marcus Davidsson, C
  29. San Jose: Juuso Valimaki, D
  30. Pittsburgh: Erik Brannstrom, D
  31. Chicago: Matthew Strome, LW

You can find short profiles on mostof the players here.

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

Five Players Off to Disappointing Starts in 2016-2017

As every new season rolls around, there are bound to be players that come in hot and players that come in cold. Most of the time these come as surprises, especially for teams paying big money for players that start the season slow.

1. Justin Williams, Washington

At 35 years old, Williams is at the tail end of his career. After seven seasons and two Stanley Cup wins in Los Angeles, he signed a two year, $3.25 million per deal with the Capitals in hopes to give them the extra push in the playoffs to make it past the second round.

So far this season, Williams has two goals and four points in 21 games. He is on pace for 16 points, which would be down 36 from 2015-2016. Washington needs Williams to start producing immediately. Currently playing on a line with Lars Eller and Zach Sanford, becoming an extra layer of scoring would help push the Capitals up the standings and win their second consecutive Metropolitan Division title.

2. Anthony Duclair, Arizona

After an impressive rookie campaign in 2015-2016, Duclair has fallen off a cliff early this season. Acquired in the Keith Yandle deal with the Rangers in the spring of 2015, the Coyotes envisioned Duclair as a future top-six mainstay, but now are reportedly listening to offers on him.

In 21 games this season, Duclair only has one goal. On pace for only a handful of goals, Duclair is not doing much to help Arizona improve after last season, as they are currently tied for last in the league.

The Coyotes forward core is primarily young, with the likes of Max Domi, Christian Dvorak, Lawson Crouse, and Laurent Dauphin making up a large majority of the group, so inconsistency is expected. But, Duclair has been here before and has a 20 goal season under his belt. Arizona needs him to turn his season around if they want to turn theirs around as well.

3. Andrew Ladd, New York (I)

Signed to be John Tavares’ left winger for he next half-decade, things have not gotten off on the correct foot for Andrew Ladd and the New York Islanders.

Ladd has bounced around on all four lines and subsequently only has two goals in 21 games. He played with John Tavares for around ten games and had no goals, but it may be time for another trial run, seeing that he is going to be wearing blue and orange for a long time.

If Ladd can find his groove next to Tavares, Nelson, or Cizikas, it would be a huge plus for the Islanders. Currently in last place with Arizona, they’ve taken a huge step back after two straight 100 point seasons.

4. Jimmy Hayes, Boston 

Hayes has struggled since being traded to Boston from Florida, but this season has been far worse than the previous. He has one goal and no assists in 21 games and has been a healthy scratch on occasion.

Hayes has one year left after this year at $2.3 million, but his future with Boston appears uncertain. A trade does not seem out of the question at this point in time. Hayes is 6’5 and a good skater for his size, and at his current contract there may be a few takers. A scenario change may be good for him to get back on track.

5. Jiri Hudler, Dallas

Hudler signed a one year, $2 million deal with the Stars this offseason, which appeared to be a very team-friendly deal at the time. However, in the four games Hudler has played when he has not been injured, he has zero points and zero shots on goal.

Hudler has been regressing since being almost point-per-game with Calgary in 2014-2015. If he can return to that form, he would become a very valuable asset for the Stars, either on the roster or on the trade market.

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

The next two years for the Islanders are about retooling, not winning

After two straight 100-points seasons and three playoff appearances in four years, things are looking pretty bleak for the New York Islanders.

They currently sit in 28th in the league, two points ahead of Arizona in the cellar. They have 42 goals for, 22nd in the league, and 54 goals against, 23rd in the league. The team is getting no depth goal scoring. Only three players, John Tavares (.76), Brock Nelson (.70), and Dennis Seidenberg (.53) are averaging above .50 points per game.

The lack of scoring on the Islanders, a fun, fast paced team just two seasons ago, is astonishing. Jason Chimera and Andrew Ladd, the two big offseason acquisitions for the Islanders, have combined for three goals total. Anders Lee and Nikolay Kulemin have one each, and Ryan Strome and Josh Bailey have two each.

A decade filled with promises and hope has gone off the rails in one short offseason. It’s not an impossibility that the Islanders can turn around their 5-8-4 record, but the lineup they currently have does not seem to have the tools to win.

So where does it go from here? Turning to the New York Rangers, oddly enough, and what they did over the summer is a good start.

Outside of Jimmy Vesey and Pavel Buchnevich, the Rangers made some high quality moves this offseason after a disappointing five game playoff run. They flipped Derrick Brassard for electrifying Swedish center Mika Zibanejad, a move that has already paid dividends. They also signed some cheap, fast options for the middle six in Brandon Pirri and Michael Grabner, both of which have had success so far.

The core was certainly in place for the Rangers, but they were able to make the right moves to turn them into a contender again in just a few months.

The same has to be done by the Islanders in the upcoming two seasons. These years aren’t about winning. Fact of the matter is – the Stanley Cup is not finding it’s way to Brooklyn before John Tavares needs a new contract.

The Islanders will have a total of 19 players (on the roster as of November 19, 2016) in need of new contracts in the next two offseasons, with nine of those being RFAs. Those players are:

2017 UFAs: Cal Clutterbuck, Dennis Seidenberg, Thomas Greiss

2017 RFAs: J-F Berube, Calvin de Haan, Adam Pelech

2018 UFAs: John Tavares, Mikhail Grabovski, Nikolay Kulemin, Josh Bailey, Jason Chimera, Thomas Hickey, Jaroslav Halak

2019 RFAs: Ryan Strome, Brock Nelson, Shane Prince, Alan Quine, Ryan Pulock, Scott Mayfield

It’s hard to predict who will stay and who will go, but assuming at least Grabovski, Kulemin, Seidenberg, Halak, and Chimera are off the books by 2018-2019, that’s almost $18 million in cap space. Take into account re-signings and the massive contract you hope you can sign John Tavares to and that number dwindles, but it’s still a heap of bad contracts coming off the books regardless.

The Islanders have a plethora of young prospects eager to make the leap as well. After a few years to fine tune their abilities in the minors, you have to assume Michael Dal Colle, Josh Ho-Sang, and Mathew Barzal will be ready to go, or at least traded for quality, NHL-ready pieces. The Isles also have Parker Wotherspoon on defense who looks like a gem, but it is uncertain when he’ll be able to crack the lineup.

If all goes well, the Islanders could have these 12 forwards on their roster come the start of the 2018-2019 season: John Tavares, Andrew Ladd, Brock Nelson, Anders Lee, Casey Cizikas, Cal Clutterbuck, Michael Dal Colle, Josh Ho-Sang, Anthony Beauvillier, Mathew Barzal, Josh Bailey, Shane Prince.

There are still more variables though. It’s near impossible to predict a lineup two seasons into the future.

One is the expansion draft. Due to the Islanders likely protecting Leddy, Hamonic, Pulock, and Boychuk on defense, only four forwards can be protected. It’s entirely possible that one forward from the aforementioned list winds up on Las Vegas. Cal Clutterbuck or Josh Bailey could walk to free agency as well.

Ryan Strome was also omitted from the list. Whether he is taken by Vegas, or is traded (more likely), it is hard to see a future with Ryan Strome as a New York Islanders player. The team has a ton of young centers ready or almost ready, and Strome doesn’t play as well on the wing as he does at center.

Remember the Rangers comparison from before? This is where it could fall in. The draft glamour of Strome has certainly fallen off, but he is still a valuable trading asset. If Garth Snow can flip him for a better, perhaps younger player like the Rangers did with Derrick Brassard and Mika Zibanejad, it will be a win.

Another thing the Islanders have to figure out is goaltending. Jaroslav Halak almost certainly is not coming back when his contract is expired. I’d bet Greiss gets a new one this summer, but you never know. The Islanders have to hope and pray that Ilya Sorokin, a goalie who has torn it up in the KHL the past two years, wants to come over and play in North America next season or the year after that. If he doesn’t they’ll need to resort to Plan B in net, whatever that may be.

The end all and be all of it is this: the New York Islanders are not in a place to win these next two seasons. It’s now on Garth Snow to spend this time retooling the roster and getting the correct core of players surrounding John Tavares before he has the chance to talk to other teams in June of 2018.

-Kevin, @theNHLFiles

Three teams that could claim Andrew Hammond off waivers

After failing to trade him, the Ottawa Senators placed 28-year-old goaltender Andrew Hammond on waivers earlier today.

“The Hamburglar”, as he is more well known by after his impressive run late in the 2014-2015 season that left him with a 20-1-2 record, played in two games for Ottawa this year. In those two games, he posted a .793 SV%.

Although the last two seasons haven’t been ideal for Hammond, he still provides value. He has a reasonable cap hit at 1.35 million for this season and the next.

Injuries have been at a premium in the NHL early on this season, so there are certainly teams looking for goaltending help.

The most notable is the Los Angeles Kings. Jonathan Quick is still out for a few more months. Currently, the Kings are rolling with Peter Budaj and Jeff Zatkoff in net, although Zatkoff is just returning from injury. They also have former first round pick (of Dallas) Jack Campbell in the minors.

Claiming Hammond would be a relatively low-risk move for the Kings. He could return to form in front of a strong defense comprised of the likes of Jake Muzzin and Drew Doughty, and his cap hit is low enough not to hurt Los Angeles in the long run.

Another team in search of goaltending help is the Philadelphia Flyers. Michal Neuvirth is slated to be out another four to five weeks, and organizational trust in Steve Mason appears to be waning. Anthony Stolarz, who has been good in the AHL this year, is currently with the team, but it is uncertain if he is completely ready.

Hammond would provide another NHL-caliber option in net for Philadelphia. It allows Stolarz to continue to grow in the AHL while Mason and Hammond work the NHL. The only issue the Flyers face is that they would have to waive Hammond in a few weeks when Neuvirth comes back and that would create a logjam in the crease down in the minors if he were to clear.

Lastly, the Edmonton Oilers may have a use for Hammond. After starting off the season hot, the Oilers have gone into a tailspin, having lost their last five in a row.

Currently in net, the Oilers employ Cam Talbot and Jonas Gustavsson. Talbot has been fantastic, but after the three games Gustavsson has played, he sits below a .900 SV%. With no immediate option other than Laurent Brossoit looming, the Oilers could provide a longer term home for Hammond.

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

Mock NHL Expansion Draft (Nov. 2016)

The Anaheim Ducks protect: 


4 forwards: Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler, Rickard Rakell

4 defensemen: Hampus Lindholm, Sami Vatanen, Cam Fowler, Kevin Bieksa

1 goalie: John Gibson


Expansion requirements:

5/2 required exposure forwards

2/1 required exposure defensemen

0/1 required exposure goalie


The Ducks will have to trade for a goalie to fulfill expansion requirements or potentially leave John Gibson up for taking.


Las Vegas selects Josh Manson (D). 


The Arizona Coyotes protect: 


4 forwards: Jamie McGinn, Tobias Rieder, Anthony Duclair, Jordan Martinook

4 defensemen: Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Alex Goligoski, Connor Murphy, Michael Stone

1 goalie: Mike Smith


Expansion requirements:

1/2 required exposure forwards

2/1 required exposure defensemen

2/1 required exposure goalies


The Coyotes will have to trade for and forward to fulfill expansion requirements or potentially leave Jamie McGinn or Tobias Rieder for taking.


Las Vegas selects Kevin Connauton (D).


The Boston Bruins protect: 


7 forwards: David Krejci, David Backes, Patrice Bergeron, Matt Beleskey, David Pastrnak, Ryan Spooner, Brad Marchand

3 defensemen: Zdeno Chara, Colin Miller, Torey Krug

1 goalie: Tuukka Rask


Expansion requirements:

2/2 required exposure forwards

2/1 required exposure defensemen

2/1 required exposure goalies


Las Vegas selects Jimmy Hayes (F).


The Buffalo Sabres protect: 


7 forwards: Ryan O’Reilly, Kyle Okposo, Evander Kane, Tyler Ennis, Zegmus Girgensons, Johan Larsson, Marcus Foligno

3 defensemen: Rasmus Ristolainen, Zachary Bogosian, Jake McCabe

1 goalie: Robin Lehner


Expansion requirements:

2/2 required exposure forwards

1/1 required exposure defensemen

1/1 required exposure goalies


Las Vegas selects Linus Ullmark (G).


The Calgary Flames protect:


7 forwards: Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Troy Brouwer, Michael Frolik, Mikael Backlund, Emile Poirier, Sam Bennett

3 defensemen: Mark Giordano, Dougie Hamilton, TJ Brodie


Expansion requirements:

2/2 required exposure forwards

0/1 required exposure defensemen

1/1 required exposure goalies


The Flames will have to trade for a defensemen to fufill expansion requirements or potentially leave TJ Brodie or Dougie Hamilton for taking.


Las Vegas selects Hunter Shinkaruk (F).


The Carolina Hurricanes protect:


7 forwards: Jordan Staal, Jeff Skinner, Victor Rask, Elias Lindholm, Lee Stempniak, Teuvo Teravainen, Phillip Di Giuseppe

3 defensemen: Justin Faulk, Ryan Murphy, Keegan Lowe

1 goalie: Eddie Lack


Expansion requirements:

1/2 required exposure forwards

0/1 required exposure defensemen

2/1 required exposure goalies


The Hurricanes will have to trade for a forward and defensemen to fulfill expansion requirements or potentially leave multiple players for taking.


Las Vegas selects Klas Dahlbeck (D).


The Chicago Blackhawks protect:


7 forwards: Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Marcus Kruger, Artem Anisimov, Richard Panik, Ryan Hartman

3 defensemen: Nick Hjalmarsson, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook

1 goalie: Corey Crawford


Expansion requirements:

0/2 required exposure forwards

1/1 required exposure defensemen

1/1 required exposure goalies


The Blackhawks will have to trade for two forwards to fulfill expansion requirements or potentially leave multiple players for taking.


Las Vegas selects: Trevor van Riemsdyk (D).


The Colorado Avalanche protect: 


4 forwards: Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon, Matt Duchene, Carl Soderberg

4 defensemen: Tyson Barrie, Francois Beauchemin, Nikita Zadorov, Erik Johnson

1 goalie: Calvin Pickard


Expansion requirements:

3/2 required exposure forwards

0/1 required exposure defensemen

1/1 required exposure goalies


The Avalanche will have to trade for a defensemen or leave one unprotected and keep seven forwards instead to fulfill exposure requirements.


Las Vegas selects Semyon Varlamov (G).


The Columbus Blue Jackets protect: 


7 forwards: Brandon Saad, Brandon Dubinsky, Nick Foligno, Scott Hartnell, Cam Atkinson, Boone Jenner, Alex Wennberg

3 defensemen: Seth Jones, David Savard, Ryan Murray

1 goalie: Sergei Bobrovsky


Expansion requirements:

2/2 required exposure forwards

2/1 required exposure defensemen

3/1 required exposure goalies


Las Vegas selects Joonas Korpisalo (G).


The Dallas Stars protect: 


7 forwards: Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, Patrick Sharp, Jason Spezza, Cody Eakin, Radek Faksa, Brett Ritchie

3 defensemen: John Klingberg, Daniel Hamhuis, Esa Lindell

1 goalie: Kari Lehtonen


Expansion requirements:

1/2 required exposure forwards

2/1 required exposure defensemen

3/1 required exposure goalies


The Stars have to trade for a forward to fulfill exposure requirements or potentially leave a protected forward for taking.


Las Vegas selects Antoine Roussel (F).


The Detroit Red Wings protect: 


7 forwards: Henrik Zetterberg, Frans Nielsen, Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Riley Sheehan, Justin Abdelkader, Andreas Athanasiou

3 defensemen: Niklas Kronwall, Xavier Ouelette, Alexey Marchenko

1 goalie: Petr Mrazek


Expansion requirements:

3/2 required exposure forwards

3/1 required exposure defensemen

2/1 required exposure goalies


Las Vegas selects Darren Helm (F).


The Edmonton Oilers protect:


4 forwards: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Leon Draisaitl, Jordan Eberle, Milan Lucic

4 defensemen: Andrej Sekera, Brandon Davidson, Adam Larsson, Oscar Klefbom

1 goalie: Cam Talbot


Expansion requirements:

3/2 required exposure forwards

1/1 required exposure defensemen

1/1 required exposure goalies


Las Vegas selects Patrick Maroon (F).


The Florida Panthers protect: 


7 forwards: Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Vincent Trochek, Nick Bjugstad, Jussi Jokinen, Reilly Smith, Jonathan Marchessault

3 defensemen: Aaron Ekblad, Mark Pysyk, Keith Yandle

1 goalie: Roberto Luongo


Expansion requirements:

3/2 required exposure forwards

1/1 required exposure defensemen

2/1 required exposure goalies


Las Vegas selects Jason Demers (D).


The Los Angeles Kings protect: 


4 forwards: Anne Kopitar, Tanner Pearson, Tyler Toffoli, Jeff Carter

4 defensemen: Drew Doughty, Jake Muzzin, Alec Martinez, Brayden McNabb

1 goalie: Jonathan Quick


Expansion requirements:

5/2 required exposure forwards

1/1 required exposure defensemen

2/1 required exposure goalies


Las Vegas selects Nick Shore (F).


The Minnesota Wild protect:


7 forwards: Mikko Koivu, Zach Parise, Erik Haula, Charlie Coyle, Mikael Granlund, Jason Zucker, Nino Niederreiter

3 defensemen: Jonas Brodin, Ryan Suter, Matt Dumba


Expansion requirements:

2/2 required exposure forwards

2/1 required exposure defensemen

0/1 required exposure goalies


The Wild will have to trade for a goalie to fulfill exposure requirements or potentially leave Devan Dubnyk for taking.


Las Vegas selects: Marco Scandella (D).


The Montreal Canadiens protect: 


7 forwards: Max Pacioretty, Tomas Plekanec, Andrew Shaw, Brendan Gallagher, Alex Galchenyuk, Jacob De La Rose, Phillip Danault

3 defensemen: Shea Weber, Jeff Petry, Nathan Beaulieu

1 goalie: Carey Price


Expansion requirements:

2/2 required exposure forwards

2/1 required exposure defensemen

0/1 required exposure goalies


The Canadiens will have to trade for a goalie to fulfill exposure requirement or potentially leave Carey Price for the taking.


Las Vegas selects Dalton Thrower (D).


The Nashville Predators protect: 


4 forwards: Ryan Johansen, James Neal, Calle Jarnkrok, Fillip Forsberg

4 defensemen: PK Subban, Ryan Ellis, Roman Josi, Matthias Ekholm

1 goalie: Pekka Rinne


Expansion requirements:

4/2 required exposure forwards

1/1 required exposure defensemen

1/1 required exposure goalies


Anthony Bitetto needs to play 27 more games to fulfill defensive exposure requirement.


Las Vegas selects Craig Smith (F).


The New Jersey Devils protect:


7 forwards: Adam Henrique, Taylor Hall, Kyle Palmieri, Devante Smith-Pelly, Travis Zajac, Beau Bennett, Reid Boucher

3 defensemen: Andy Greene, Damon Severson, John Moore

1 goalie: Cory Schneider


Expansion requirements:

2/2 required exposure forwards

1/1 required exposure defensemen

1/1 required exposure goalies


Las Vegas selects Jon Merrill (D).


The New York Islanders protect: 


4 forwards: John Tavares, Andrew Ladd, Casey Cizikas, Ryan Strome

4 defensemen: Nick Leddy, Johnny Boychuk, Travis Hamonic, Ryan Pulock

1 goalie: Jaroslav Halak


Expansion requirements:

7/2 required exposure forwards

1/1 required exposure defensemen

2/1 required exposure goalies


Las Vegas selects Brock Nelson (F).


The New York Rangers protect: 


7 forwards: Rick Nash, Chris Kreider, Derek Stepan, Mika Zibanejad, Mats Zuccarello, JT Miller, Kevin Hayes

3 defensemen: Daniel Girardi, Marc Staal, Ryan McDonagh

1 goalie: Henrik Lundqvist


Expansion requirements:

1/2 required exposure forwards

2/1 required exposure defensemen

3/1 required exposure goalies


The Rangers will have to trade for a forward to reach exposure requirements or potentially leave a protected forward for the taking.


Las Vegas selects Jesper Fast (F).


The Ottawa Senators protect: 


7 forwards: Bobby Ryan, Kyle Turris, Mike Hoffman, Derrick Brassard, Mark Stone, J-G Pageau, Curtis Lazar

3 defensemen: Dion Phaneuf, Erik Karlsson, Cody Ceci

1 goalie: Craig Anderson


Expansion requirements:

0/2 required exposure forwards

3/1 required exposure defensemen

2/1 required exposure goalies


The Senators will have to trade for two forwards to fulfill exposure requirements or potentially leave multiple protected players for taking.


Las Vegas selects Matt Puempel (F).


The Philadelphia Flyers protect: 


7 forwards: Claude Giroux, Jake Voracek, Brayden Schenn, Sean Couturier, Scott Laughton, Nick Cousins, Wayne Simmonds

3 defensemen: Shayne Gostisbehere, Michael Del Zotto, Radko Gudas

1 goalie: Steve Mason


Expansion requirements:

3/2 required exposure forwards

2/1 required exposure defensemen

1/1 required exposure goalies


Las Vegas selects Michael Raffl (F).


The Pittsburgh Penguins protect:


4 forwards: Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Patric Hornqvist, Phil Kessel

4 defensemen: Kris Letang, Olli Maatta, Brian Dumoulin, Derrick Pouliot

1 goalie: Matt Murray


Expansion requirements:

5/2 required exposure forwards

1/1 required exposure defensemen

0/1 required exposure goalies*


The situation with Marc-Andre Fleury is currently up in the air. His potential trade will heavily affect the expansion draft*


The San Jose Sharks protect: 


7 forwards: Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, Mikkel Boedker, Chris Tierney, Tomas Hertl

3 defensemen: Brett Burns, Marc-Eduard Vlasic, Justin Braun

1 goalie: Martin Jones


Expansion requirements:

1/2 required exposure forwards

2/1 required exposure defensemen

1/1 required exposure goalies


The Sharks will have to trade for a forward to fulfill exposure requirements or potentially leave a protected forward for the taking.


Las Vegas selects Melker Karlsson (F).


The St. Louis Blues protect: 


7 forwards: Vladimir Tarasenko, Alex Steen, Paul Stastny, Jaden Schwartz, Nail Yakupov, Ty Rattie, Jori Lehtera

3 defensemen: Alex Pietrangelo, Jay Bouwmeester, Joel Edmundson

1 goalie: Jake Allen


Expansion requirements:

4/2 required exposure forwards

1/1 required exposure defensemen

3/1 required exposure goalies


Las Vegas selects Dimitrij Jaskin (F).


The Tampa Bay Lightning protect:


7 forwards: Steven Stamkos, Ryan Callahan, Val Fillpula, Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat, Jonathan Drouin, Nikita Kucherov

3 defensemen: Victor Hedman, Anton Stralman, Slater Koekkoek

1 goalie: Andrei Vasilevskiy


Expansion requirements:

4/2 required exposure forwards

1/1 required exposure defensemen

3/1 required exposure goalies


Las Vegas selects Vladimir Namestnikov (F).


The Toronto Maple Leafs protect: 


7 forwards: Nazem Kadri, James van Riemsdyk, Tyler Bozak, Leo Komarov, Kerby Rychel, Connor Brown, Brendan Leipsic

3 defensemen: Morgan Rielly, Jake Gardiner, Connor Carrick

1 goalie: Freddie Andersen


Expansion requirements:

1/2 required exposure forwards

1/1 required exposure defensemen

2/1 required exposure goalies


The Maple Leafs will have to trade for a forward to fulfill exposure requirements or potentially leave a protected forward for taking.


Las Vegas selects Victor Loov (D).


The Vancouver Canucks protect:


7 forwards: Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, Loui Eriksson, Brandon Sutter, Jannik Hansen, Sven Baertschi, Bo Horvat

3 defensemen: Erik Gudbranson, Alex Edler, Chris Tanev

1 goalie: Jacob Markstrom


Expansion requirements:

2/2 required exposure forwards

1/1 required exposure defensemen

1/1 required exposure goalies


Las Vegas selects Marcus Granlund (F).


The Washington Capitals protect:


7 forwards: Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Marcus Johansson, Evgeny Kuznetsov, TJ Oshie, Tom Wilson, Andre Burakovsky

3 defensemen: John Carlson, Dmitry Orlov, Matt Niskanen

1 goalie: Braden Holtby


Expansion requirements:

2/2 required exposure forwards

1/1 required exposure defensemen

1/1 required exposure goalies


Las Vegas selects Nate Schmidt (D).


The Winnipeg Jets protect:


7 forwards: Blake Wheeler, Mark Scheifele, Bryan Little, Matt Perreault, Adam Lowry, Marko Dano, Spencer Komaschuk

3 defensemen: Dustin Byfuglien, Tobias Enstrom, Tyler Myers*

1 goalie: Connor Hellebuyck


Depends on Jacob Trouba situation*


Expansion requirements:

2/2 required exposure forwards

1/1 required exposure defensemen

1/1 required exposure goalies


Las Vegas selects Joel Armia (F).




Carl Hagelin – Craig Smith – Jimmy Hayes

Darren Helm – Brock Nelson – Jesper Fast

Michael Raffl – Vlad Namestnikov – Patrick Maroon

Antoine Roussel – Melker Karlsson – Dimitrij Jaskin 


Extras: Matt Puempel, Hunter Shinkaruk, Marcus Granlund, Nick Shore, Joel Armia 


Marco Scandella – Jason Demers

Nate Schmidt – Trevor van Riemsdyk

Kevin Connauton – Josh Manson 


Extras: Klas Dahlbeck, Victor Loov, Jon Merrill, Dalton Thrower


#1: Semyon Varlamov

#2: Joonas Korpisalo

#3: Linus Ullmark 


-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles






Four potential forwards the New York Islanders could trade for

It’s no secret that the New York Islanders desperately need help this season. 

Currently sitting at 29th in the league with a 5-8-3 record and ahead of only Arizona, the Islanders have not been able to generate offense at all so far this year. Valuable winger P-A Parenteau was waived in favor of Mat Barzal, a star prospect who played only two games before being sent back to Major Junior, and J-F Berube, a third-string goalie who hasn’t played a game and is being kept around due to injury concerns with Jaroslav Halak. 

It has been rumored that general manager Garth Snow has been sniffing around the block in hopes to find a trading partner these past few weeks. Snow is no stranger to deals of this kind: he made one back in 2013 when he sent Matt Moulson, a first round pick, and a second round pick to Buffalo for Thomas Vanek. 

Vanek was eventually traded to Montreal before signing with Minnesota in the summer of 2014. 

But this begs the question, what is out there this year? In a cap-strapped league and a looming expansion draft, trades are at a halt. The Islanders don’t have many assets to deal either. Michael Dal Colle, Ryan Strome, Anders Lee, and picks outside the first round make up the bunch. 

Snow will have to do some serious work to find a trading partner this early on in the year, but here are some potential options. 

1. Gabriel Ladeskog, LW, COL

The Avalanche have been looking to shake things up on their own front recently, and Landeskog is a valuable asset that may be expended by them. A second overall pick in 2011, Landeskog has gotten off to a less than stellar start in 2016-2017 with four goals and eight points in fifteen games. Landeskog has had three consecutive seasons of 20 or more goals and would be a big-bodied and much-needed addition to John Tavares’ wing. 

2. Martin Hanzal, C, ARZ

Hanzal is a pending unrestricted free agent from the Arizona Coyotes who is rumored to be on the block. Although he has injury concerns, Hanzal plays a reliable two-way game, something New York has been lacking in their number two center spot without Frans Nielsen. The Coyotes are reportedly seeking a young, NHL-ready center in return, which Ryan Strome fits the bill of. There’s some maneuvering to do, but it’s entirely possible. 

3. Valtteri Filppula, C/LW, TBL

Much like Hanzal, Filppula could help the Islanders at both ends of the rink. He has 10 points in 16 games this year and can kill penalties when called upon. The only call for concern with Filppula is his contract situation. He’s on the books for one more year at five million and has a no-movement clause, requiring him to be protected for the expansion draft. 

4. Tyler Ennis, C/RW, BUF

Ennis, 27, has been in the rumor mill for quite some time now. He only has two points in 12 games this season, but is a speedy player that has shown flashes of brilliance. If placed on John Tavares’ right wing, he has the ability to take off as a formidable winger. Ennis is on the books for two more years at 4.6 million per. 

Other options include Jason Zucker (LW, MIN), Jeff Carter (C/RW, LAK), and David Desharnais (C, MTL). 

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles