Who To Protect At The Expansion Draft

Why The Draft / Draft Rules

In 2021 the NHL will be having an expansion draft for its newest franchise the Seattle Kraken. 3 years ago Seattle was awarded an NHL team. But now the time has come for the Kraken to draft.

The Kraken are required to pick 14 forwards, nine defensemen, and three goalies at the minimum and can fill the remaining four slots as they please. The 30 players they take must earn at least 60% of next season’s $81.5 million salary cap limit. 

Teams can protect seven forwards, three defensemen, and a goalie. Or, they can protect eight skaters overall and a goalie. Protection lists must be submitted by July 17, ahead of the July 21 expansion draft.

What Does This Mean For The Rangers?

The Rangers are in a pretty good situation when it comes to the expansion draft. Most of the Rangers’ high-value players like Adam Fox, Kaapo Kakko, Alexis Lafreniere, Vitali Krastrov, Nils Lundkvist, and Zac Jones, are in the first 2 years of their contracts making them exempt to the draft. The remaining key players have NMC’s so they probably won’t be left unprotected.

When Thinking of names they should protect, most have the NMC’s like Jacob Trouba, Artemi Panarin, and Chris Kreider. Upcoming RFA Igor Shesterkin will also be exempt.

Who Will Be Protected?

The Rangers will probably go with the protect 9 skaters and 1 goalie option. It just seems to make more sense rather than protect d-men you do not need to. The protected skaters will most likely consist of;

Mika Zibanejad, who will have one year remaining of his contract.

Artemi Panarin, who has 5 years remaining with an NMC.

Ryan Strome, Strome has 1 year left on his bridge deal but is too good of a fit with Panarin to just let him walk.

Ryan Lindgren, Lindgren just inked a deal last month and it is like a Panarin-Strome fit but Fox-Lindgren instead.

Jacob Trouba, Trouba too has a NMC, but he is signed for 5 more years and seems to be a key player and leader on a young Rangers team.

Chris Kreider, Kreider has 5 years left with a NMC and is staying put.

Pavel Buchnevich, Buch is not going anywhere with or without a contract.

Filip Chytil, Chytil is a very promising Power-Forward prospect who many Rangers fans would hate to see go.

Last but not least the Rangers will use their goalie spot to protect Alexandar Georgiev. Georgiev is the only viable choice and with him having 1 year left on his contract it makes perfect sense.

Who Will The Kraken Take?

I have narrowed it down to two players I think they will look at. but first, remember the Rangers are not a team that the Kraken will get a top player from, the Rangers are young, with most their roster being exempt and after the protected players it is a lot of filler guys during our “rebuild phase”.

Teams like Colorado, Nashville, Toronto, Tampa Bay, Philly, and Washington are where they are going to find that aging former star that needs a new start or those teams are just that deep. In the Rangers case, they will probably lose Kevin Rooney who is a PK specialist guy who can play a checking bottom 6 role or Colin Blackwell. Blackwell became adored by fans and is a great feel-good NHL story but sadly there are only so many protected spots and with the ability, he showed this year to play on any line being the ultimate utility guy the Rangers will lose him.


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