Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter
Thursday morning, Arthur Staple of Newsday offered some clarity as to the Islanders offseason moves that saw them lose three long-time homegrown talents in Kyle Okposo, Frans Nielsen and Matt Martin. General manager Garth Snow acted quickly and replaced the trio with Andrew Ladd, P.A. Parenteau and Jason Chimera.
Whether the Islanders are truly better off or not will not be known until the smoke clears on training camp and the team enters the 2016-17 season, which begins on October 13 at Madison Square Garden against the New York Rangers. There will be trade opportunities to review and roster spots up for grabs. With John Tavares, Nikolay Kulemin, Jaroslav Halak and Thomas Greiss all participating in the World Cup of Hockey and thus missing Islanders camp, it will also serve Snow best to see how one player, in particular, makes it out of that tournament (Halak).
The comments on Grabovski and Kulemin are, as usual, on the money from Staple with regards to their uncertain futures with the team. Now that the Islanders have gone from a team struggling to reach the cap floor to trying to stay under the ceiling, those two particularly are troubling issues to sort out. Grabovski now presents health issues and Kulemin a high cap hit for his level of production.
On Nielsen, some, as expected, took his comments on the way to Detroit as another opportunity to slam Snow and head coach Jack Capuano. On the contrary, it couldn't be further from the truth that Nielsen wanted to get away from one or perhaps both. Staple clarifies his conversation with the Dane and its right in this line: "I wouldn't be the player I am today if it wasn't for them". He also added "And you can see they don't have any trouble bringing new guys in". Hopefully this finally ends this silliness in some mainstream outlets that Brooklyn is still an issue for players considering playing for the organization.
Regarding Hamonic, I can see where Staple is coming from in regards to moving him for Hall. The timing was off in terms of Snow looking for a defenseman to replace him and then Edmonton not willing to take anyone else that Snow likely offered. It is what it is and while New York lost out on a potential second franchise player to slot alongside captain Tavares, what they keep in Hamonic could be argued is equally important and effective.
Lastly, was the word that Ryan Pulock does have to be protected in next year's expansion draft for the new Las Vegas franchise. With each team guaranteed to lose one player, there are two different options for teams making up their protected list. One is to choose a 7/3/1 forward, defense, goaltender setup. The other is to select eight skaters (any positions) and a goaltender. With Nick Leddy, Johnny Boychuk and Hamonic projected to be Islanders protections at the position, that will leave Pulock, Calvin deHaan and Thomas Hickey exposed to selection.
You could safely assume that one could be shopped prior to the June 17, 2017 deadline. Las Vegas will make their selections on June 20, 2017.