New York Islanders Release Protected List
Feb 25, 2017; Columbus, OH, USA; New York Islanders center Brock Nelson (29) against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. The Blue Jackets won 7-0. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Islanders released their protected players list ahead of the upcoming expansion draft, and it features some surprises.

Well, this is… unexpected.

On Sunday morning, the league’s 30 teams released their protected lists ahead of the upcoming expansion draft. The Islanders have earned the distinction as being the only organization to protect five defensemen.

Surprisingly, the Isles chose to protect Adam Pelech rather than Calvin de Haan, Brock Nelson and Ryan Strome. This suggests that the team almost certainly has a deal in place with Vegas general manager George McPhee to not choose any of these players.

The Islanders have undergone a complete 360° over the past couple weeks. Prior to Saturday afternoon, when the rosters froze and no further moves could be made, beat writers and bloggers alike speculated that Garth Snow would flip Travis Hamonic and/or Calvin de Haan for Jordan Eberle or Matt Duchene. It evidently didn’t go down that way.

I recently went so far as to as to say that “there’s no satisfactory alternative to not making a move.” While that’s not completely true, it’s curious nonetheless that Snow didn’t end up making a deal.

Doug Weight recently said that “It’s an important three weeks,” and that “any time we could improve our team, we’ll do,” suggesting that further moves could be inevitable

Justin Weiss is a staff editor at Elite Sports New York, where he covers the New York Islanders and Brooklyn Cyclones. In 2016, he received a Quill Award for Freelance Journalism. He has written for the Long Island Herald, FanSided and YardBarker.