Lightning reveal protected list ahead of Wednesday's Expansion Draft

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Official site of the Tampa Bay Lightning 18 July, 2021 - 10:00am 4 views

When are the NHL protected lists released?

Starting at 10 AM ET on Sunday, when the NHL will make the protection lists public, the Kraken will have a window to negotiate with and sign any (un)restricted free agents who are unprotected from their 2020-21 team. Though, if they do, that will count as their pick from that player's 2020-21 club. novacapsfans.comThe Capitals’ Protection List For The 2021 NHL Expansion Draft

Tampa Bay lost a major piece from its back-to-back Stanley Cup championship teams Saturday when Barclay Goodrow was traded to the New York Rangers for a Seventh Round selection in the 2022 NHL Draft.

Goodrow was set to become an unrestricted free agent July 28, so the Lightning essentially received a draft pick to give the Rangers negotiating rights to try to lock up the 28-year-old forward before he hits the open market.

Unfortunately, and undoubtedly, Goodrow won't be the only player to leave the team this offseason as the Lightning get cap compliant.

And the Bolts will assuredly lose another player when the Seattle Kraken make their selections during the Expansion Draft on Wednesday, July 21 (8 p.m. Eastern).

The Kraken, which begin play in the upcoming 2021-22 season, will select one player from each team, excluding the Vegas Golden Knights, for a total of 30: at least 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goalies.

Seattle must choose a minimum of 20 players under contract for the 2021-22 regular season and those with an aggregate Expansion Draft value between 60-100 percent of $81.5 million, the 2020-21 season's upper limit for the salary cap. The Kraken also have an exclusive window from July 18-21 to interview and potentially sign pending free agents who were left unprotected in the expansion draft. From the Lightning, that would include players like Blake Coleman, David Savard and Luke Schenn. If the Kraken sign a player in that window, it counts as their pick from that players' former team.

NHL teams submitted their protection lists to Central Registry and the NHLPA by 5 p.m. Saturday. Teams can submit an eight skater (forwards and defensemen combined), one goaltender protection list or one that features seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie. All players with no movement clauses at the time of the Expansion Draft, and who decline to waive such clauses, must be protected and count toward their club's protected players. The Lightning have four such players: Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman and Andrei Vasilevskiy.

With those parameters in mind, here is Tampa Bay's protected list, which was released by the NHL Sunday morning:

- Brayden Point

- Anthony Cirelli

- Mikhail Sergachev

- Ryan McDonagh

- Erik Cernak

The Lightning opted to go the eight skater/one goaltender route, mainly to protect young defensemen Sergachev and Cernak who figure to be franchise cornerstones for years to come while also keeping the veteran McDonagh, an invaluable defender and a dark horse Conn Smythe candidate for the Lightning in the 2021 Playoffs. McDonagh was maybe Tampa Bay's most important player behind Andrei Vasilevskiy this past postseason.

Notably, that leaves core pieces like Alex Killorn, Ondrej Palat, Yanni Gourde and Tyler Johnson available for the Kraken to select in the Expansion Draft. Or, Seattle might take one of Tampa Bay's younger players like Ross Colton, Mathieu Joseph, Alex Barre-Boulet or Cal Foote to build around for the future.

The Lightning could make a deal with Seattle to dictate who the Kraken take from the Bolts roster. Tampa Bay general manager Julien BriseBois said Tuesday he's exploring a potential side deal with Seattle prior to next week's expansion draft but whether an agreement comes to fruition is unknown.

"I think if I got to choose, yeah," BriseBois said when asked if he'd prefer to make a side deal. "It all depends on what's that going to cost me. I am having conversations with Seattle, as is everyone. Maybe we will cut a deal. I think it's also very possible that we're going to present our list, they're going to pick a player and that's how it goes. That's how it's set up."

Any trades made by Seattle will be announced Wednesday when the Expansion Draft selections are announced.

The Lightning have experience making Expansion Draft side deals.

In the summer of 2017 when the Vegas Golden Knights selected their players for their inaugural season, the Lightning made a side deal with the Golden Knights in an effort to hold on to young defensemen prospects Jake Dotchin and Slater Koekkoek, who weren't part of the Bolts' protected list, former general manager Steve Yzerman explained at the time. Vegas agreed to take defenseman Jason Garrison and his $4.6 million cap hit and the Lightning gave the Golden Knights the rights to Russian forward prospect Nikita Gusev, a 2017 Second Round draft pick and a 2018 Fourth Round selection to do so.

For the Vegas expansion draft, the Lightning went with a seven forward, three defensemen, one goaltender protection list of: Ryan Callahan, Tyler Johnson, Alex Killorn, Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestnikov, Ondrej Palat, Steven Stamkos, Braydon Coburn, Victor Hedman, Anton Stralman and Andrei Vasilevskiy.

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Lightning opt to shield defensive core ahead of expansion draft

Tampa Bay Times 18 July, 2021 - 09:36am

The Lightning, who are coming off their second straight Stanley Cup title run, opted to shield their defensive core from the Seattle Kraken while leaving some key veteran forwards exposed. Players with no move clauses automatically made the protected list.

The protected players on the list released Sunday are: forwards Anthony Cirelli, Nikita Kucherov (no move clause), Brayden Point and Steven Stamkos (no move clause); defensemen Erik Cernak, Victor Hedman (no move clause), Ryan McDonagh and Mikhail Sergachev; and goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (no move clause).

In choosing to go with eight skaters (regardless of their position) instead of seven forwards and three defensemen, the Lightning have two fewer players protected.

Those include veteran forwards Tyler Johnson, Yanni Gourde, Alex Killorn and Ondrej Palat, along with rookie Ross Colton, forward Mathieu Joseph and three-time Stanley Cup winner Pat Maroon. Defensemen Cal Foote and Jan Rutta are also unprotected.

Here’s what may make the forwards attractive to the Kraken:

It’s plausible that the Lightning’s “gritty” line, which has paid dividends the past two years in the postseason, will be completely gone by next season’s start.

Barclay Goodrow’s rights were traded to the Rangers on Saturday and Blake Coleman is an unrestricted free agent after the amateur draft (assiming Seattle doesn’t make a deal with him).

If Tampa Bay loses Gourde to the Kraken and ends up unable to afford Coleman (general manager Julien BriseBois said he is one of the players due for a raise), the team will have to reinvent its entire third line.

A lot of that line’s identity, however, started with Gourde, who finished his sixth season with the Lightning, scoring 17 goals with 19 assists in the regular season and adding seven playoff points (six goals, one assist).

I hope Tampa cut a side deal here. It's going to be hard to recreate the Coleman/Gourde/Goodrow magic again with the two wingers leaving, but you at least have a chance if Gourde's the 3C. An essential ingredient to their success. https://t.co/t6XOfM2clm

Gourde adds value on the special teams front, too, eating up valuable time on the team’s second power-play unit and stepping in on the second penalty-kill unit as needed.

“You just can’t get enough Yanni Gourdes in your lineup,” Coleman said about his linemate during the postseason.

Johnson had arguably the toughest offseason of any uninjured Lightning player. His name was thrown out in trade talks as the team approached the start of the 2021 season and there was doubt he’d play in a Tampa Bay again.

But without a rehabbing Kucherov in the lineup for the 56-game regular season, Johnson’s role took on new meaning as he logged significant time on the team’s second power-play unit and often centered the team’s fourth line.

He assisted on the game-opening goal against the Panthers in Game 6, a 4-0 shutout that clinched a second-round berth for the Lightning. It was one of four he notched this offseason in addition to three assists.

Johnson is an attractive choice for Seattle given he’s a Spokane, Wash., native and can play center and on the wing.

I've got to think Tampa GM Julien BriseBois already has a side deal cooked up for Seattle to take Tyler Johnson in the expansion draft. That's the only explanation I can think of for the Lightning's protected/exposed lists.

The Lightning may lose their longest-tenured player. Killorn, drafted in 2007 (a year before Stamkos), doesn’t bring the high-power scoring that Kucherov and Point do, but his value in the locker room can’t be overstated.

The Lightning’s “influencer” has made Tampa Bay his home over the past nine years in the NHL. In 2019-20, Killorn had a career-high 49 points (26 goals and 23 assists), which carried over to this year’s abbreviated season 33 points (15-18—33). He added eight goals and nine assists in the playoffs.

Killorn played on the team’s top power-play unit and even logged some shorthanded minutes on the second penalty-kill unit. He skated on the second line with Cirelli and Stamkos, too.

His dedication to the team is evident. After breaking his fibula blocking a shot in Game 1 of the Cup final against the Canadiens, Killorn had a rod inserted in his leg three days later and was skating by the weekend.

Palat often flies under the radar skating on the top line with Point and Kucherov.

In his ninth year with the Lightning, Palat had one of the best seasons of his career scoring 15 goals and 31 assists for 46 points in the regular season (he trailed only Point’s 48 for the most on the team) and contributed another 13 (5-8—13) in the postseason.

Palat’s effectiveness on the power play also makes him a valuable target for Seattle. He averaged the third-highest time on ice per game among forwards on the power-play at 3:12 behind Stamkos (3:37) and Point (3:24).

His simple style of play doesn’t always make headlines, but his consistency has kept him as a notable top-six forward over the years.

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