Say you are George McPhee. You would want a bevy of picks and low-cost players to mesh together for a long-run. Sure, the NHL installed a rule to say they need to be some-what competitive. But if you are GM (and IF the owner is on-board) you sit back and do the best foot forward for the long-haul … and that means collecting 1st round picks.

So here come the NY Islanders who would love to remove Grabovski from their cap, per Newsday’s Arthur Staple. Despite all the fans barking about LTIR (Long Term Injury Reserve), it has never been so simple. The issue is Grabovski WANTS TO PLAY.

You CANNOT place a player that feels he can play on LTIR. It would then become a longer drawn-out issue of the NHLPA/NHL, requiring testing done with independent doctors to determine this.

So since cap space is an asset for teams, Vegas seems to want a 1st round (or perhaps a bit more) to take on this contract. This gives McPhee and his team a much bigger comfort zone and wider target to pinpoint NHL players from this and probably the next two or three drafts. It also helps McPhee collect less longterm cost and helps get him to their set expansion team cap floor, which is a bit less than the cap room floor.


I believe this will also allow those teams who ante up a 1st round pick protection from having their players taken in the expansion draft. Tampa and Isles seem to be two teams who have done this.

This is what I believe is the crux of the NY Islanders and Vegas deal that has caused mass confusion, alternate scenarios, and different revisions from very good and respectable hockey pundits and writers. Yo ho ho, and a bottle of VodkaRum.

I also think there are more items and more complexity to the deal…. which we will uncover Wednesday night. It might be due to that why there have been so many different variations or rumors over the Isles/Vegas deal.

So if you have been worried (or hoping) that Josh BaileyBrock NelsonCalvin de HaanRyan Strome, or any other key on-ice member of the team last season will be selected…. don’t. I happen to think it is now MOOT. 

What this is now about is cap space, giving  the Isles breathing room to key deals once the NHL Trade Freeze is lifted early Thursday morning. This gives the Isles flexibility… a key commodity in the NHL cap era. Especially when the cap only bumps up to $75 million. ESPECIALLY when you want to make trades to improve your situation and fix flaws.

This means the Isles are ALL-IN on trades next, in my opinion. 

How many and what it is will totally depend on which deal is agreed to first or if any other trades in the NHL lower or increase the trade values.

Expect Thursday and Friday leading up to the NHL draft to be a huge rumor-mill churn once again.Buckle up.

Changes are coming IF the dominos fall right. If they don’t, we will be in a repeat of last summer where the Isles were aggressive but came up empty.

I am willing to bet they are willing to give up key chips to get there this time. Too many things depend on their moves this summer.

Trades-a-coming! Batten down the hatches, matey!