Ahead of the expansion draft, the New York Islanders made two pretty significant trades, sending defenseman Nick Leddy to the Detroit Red Wings and forward Andrew Ladd to the Arizona Coyotes.
In exchange for Leddy, the Islanders acquired a second-round pick in this year’s draft, as well as forward Richard Panik. In the deal which sent Ladd to the Coyotes, the Islanders also traded two second-round picks (one this year and one next year), and a conditional third-round pick in 2023.
THE LEDDY TRADE
Leddy was the most likely player from the team to be selected by Seattle and moving him in advance of the expansion draft was definitely the right move. Considering he has just one year remaining on his contract and the Islanders were within 24 hours of losing him for nothing, getting back a pick and a roster player was a pretty decent return.
Adding a second-round pick also opened the door for New York to make the trade involving Andrew Ladd (which I’ll get to shortly), without completely depleting their pool of future draft picks. Plus, the team got back Richard Panik and Detroit retained half his salary for the remaining two years of his deal, which brings down his cap hit to a very manageable $1.38 million.
Panik scored 13 points in 48 games this season, a pace of 22 points per 82 games. However, in each of the four previous seasons before 2020-21, he scored at a pace of between 30 and 45 points per 82. We’ll have to see how he fits but he does give the Islanders another option in the bottom-six.
Something else to consider is that by the Islanders moving Leddy and then subsequently exposing Josh Bailey and Jordan Eberle, the team might be able to clear twice as much cap space, rather than just allowing Leddy to be selected. If Seattle is to select one of the two forwards, it would give the Islanders a ton of cap space to re-sign players and make some additions.
So while it was unfortunate to see Leddy go, it was certainly the right move for the Islanders.
THE LADD TRADE
Earlier this month, I released an article looking at four players on bad contracts who the Islanders could look to trade and Andrew Ladd was one of them. Despite listing him as an option to be moved though, I honestly didn’t think it was likely that the Islanders would manage to get his contract off the books this offseason.
He still has two years remaining on his deal at a $5.5 million cap hit, so moving him wasn’t going to come cheap – and it certainly didn’t.
The Islanders dealt away a second-round pick in each of the next two drafts, along with a conditional third-round pick in 2023 that will likely end up getting transferred. However, New York managed to make the move without giving up either a first-round pick or a top prospect, which to me, was pretty impressive.
While it was a high price to pay, New York still isn’t in a bad spot in terms of retaining draft picks. They don’t have their first-round pick this year from the Kyle Palmieri/Travis Zajac trade, but in the next three drafts, the only other pick they’re now missing in the first three rounds is a conditional third-round pick in 2023.
As of now, the Islanders actually have the majority of their top picks for the next three years, along with much more cap flexibility. Given that the Islanders are looking to contend right now, it was a necessary trade to clear some cap space.
So overall, two solid moves by general manager Lou Lamoriello and being proactive ahead of the expansion draft worked out well for the Islanders.
Check back tomorrow for an updated look at New York’s expansion draft situation and who they may lose to Seattle.
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Are you surprised the Islanders managed to move Andrew Ladd's contract?