Though Elliotte Friedman’s latest “30 Thoughts” column is packed full with interesting information, the most eye opening news might have to do with the New York Islanders. Friedman thinks that the Detroit Red Wings may come calling for Calvin de Haan before the expansion draft, after his excellent World Championship tournament.
de Haan is at risk of being exposed in the expansion draft, as the Islanders currently have to protect Johnny Boychuk due to his no-movement clause. With Nick Leddy, Travis Hamonic, Thomas Hickey and Ryan Pulock all eligible for selection as well, de Haan will have a hard time earning a protection slot. The Islanders also don’t have a ton of money to offer de Haan as he becomes a restricted free agent, because of the negotiations that are coming down the pipe in the summer of 2018 for the Islanders—not only is John Tavares a free agent but Josh Bailey, Brock Nelson, Ryan Strome, Shane Prince and Alan Quine are all due up.
- Not only will Luke Richardson join the Islanders’ coaching staff, but Kelly Buchberger will as well. Buchberger was an assistant with the Edmonton Oilers between 2008-14, and has been seen recently with Weight watching WHL games. Buchberger and Weight of course were teammates with the Oilers for nearly a decade.
- Friedman also touches on one of the hottest-button topics in hockey right now, Ilya Kovalchuk’s potential return. He notes that since Kovalchuk seems to want to play for the Rangers, perhaps he could be swayed to play for the other New York team instead. The Islanders do have a pretty enticing spot open riding shotgun with Tavares, but for the same reason listed above would have trouble giving him anything more than a short term deal. Though the Islanders do have some money hitting LTIR when the season starts in Mikhail Grabovski, that $5MM hurts their cap situation during the summer. It’ll take a lot of work to work Kovalchuk into the current salary structure, but if they were to find a way they’d immediately have one of the most dangerous lines in the league.