The Islanders will give up a first round pick in order to keep the Las Vegas Golden Knights from taking one of New York's forwards in the NHL expansion draft, according to a report from Darren Dreger of TSN.
Forwards Jason Chimera, Casey Cizikas, Cal Clutterbuck, Brock Nelson and Ryan Strome are among the 25 players the Islanders have made available for the Golden Knights, who must pick one player from each team and take a minimum of 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goalies in the expansion draft.
John Tavares, Anders Lee, and Andrew Ladd were the only three forwards the Islanders decided to protect in the expansion draft.
The Islanders will also protect goalie Thomas Greiss and defensemen Johnny Boychuk, Travis Hamonic, Nick Leddy, Adam Pelech and Ryan Pulock.
To me, there are two things to consider here. The first is that this entry draft isn't supposed to be very deep, so surrendering the 15th pick to Vegas simply to keep them away from Nelson and/or Strome seems like it's worth it to me. Sure, in hindsight, they could regret that decision, but I'd much rather give up an unproven first round commodity than players who have been successful at the NHL level.
The other is that it's possible Garth may have a deal in place elsewhere (maybe with Colorado or Edmonton) where a forward is a piece that they're moving to upgrade at center or wing. If that's the case, and they're somehow acquiring a player like Matt Duchene or Jordan Eberle, then giving up the pick to the Golden Knights is essentially just like dumping it in one of those trades, which I think most fans would have expected them to do anyway.
There's still so much we don't know that it's hard to draw any firm conclusions. But it seems clear to me that this is going to be a very intriguing summer for the Islanders, and it's all about to get underway.