NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Islanders are up to something.
At least that’s how it looks after the team revealed an NHL expansion draft protection list that featured some surprising decisions.
Every NHL team’s list was unveiled on Sunday. The Vegas Golden Knights will choose a total of 30 players during Wednesday’s draft.
The Isles bucked a trend with their list. Teams generally choose between the following protection alignments:
1. Four forwards, four defensemen, and one goalie.
2. Seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie.
In addition to goaltender Thomas Greiss, the Islanders protected five defensemen — Nick Leddy, Johnny Boychuk, and Travis Hamonic, plus youngsters Ryan Pulock and Adam Pelech. Curiously, restricted free agent Calvin de Haan was left exposed.
The Isles protected only three forwards — John Tavares, Andrew Ladd, and Anders Lee. Youngsters Brock Nelson and Ryan Strome were left dangling.
However, general manager Garth Snow appeared to have something else up his sleeve, as reports surfaced Sunday that the veteran general manager made a side deal with Vegas, agreeing to send a first-round pick to the Golden Knights to make sure they steer clear of other Islanders in the draft, presumably de Haan, Nelson, and Strome.
As for the Rangers, they chose the 7-3-1 alignment, protecting forwards Kevin Hayes, Chris Kreider, J.T. Miller, Rick Nash, Derek Stepan, Mika Zibanejad, and Mats Zuccarello. The Blueshirts also protected defensemen Ryan McDonagh, Nick Holden, and Marc Staal, and goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.
Among the omissions, the Rangers chose to expose solid role players Jesper Fast and Oscar Lindberg.
The Devils chose the 4-4-1 alignment, protecting forwards Taylor Hall, Adam Henrique, Kyle Palmieri, and Travis Zajac, plus defensemen Andy Greene, John Moore, Mirco Mueller (acquired in a trade with San Jose over the weekend), and Damon Severson.
New Jersey also protected franchise goalie Cory Schneider.
A flurry of activity league wide is expected after Wednesday’s expansion draft, leading up to the conclusion of the NHL draft on Saturday.