Pro Hockey Rumors 2021 Expansion Draft Primers

Sports 17 July, 2021 - 09:02pm 14 views

When is the NHL Draft 2021?

The 2021 NHL draft will be held in a virtual format from July 23-24. Here is an updated list of all 224 picks for every team over the course of seven rounds. The Buffalo Sabres will have the first pick after winning the draft lottery. ESPN2021 NHL draft order: All 224 picks over seven rounds for all 32 teams

How the NHL’s latest signings, trades and buyouts impact the Kraken expansion draft

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Any way you slice it, Lightning's depth will be exposed in expansion draft

Tampa Bay Times 17 July, 2021 - 11:00pm

Now Francis will be able to pick from the Lightning’s treasure trove of depth pieces in building his own team from scratch in Wednesday’s expansion draft. In a lot of ways, it’s a no-lose situation.

Building an expansion team is much like a puzzle, putting the right pieces in the right positions to form a competitive roster. But the expansion format is built to allow first-year clubs to be competitive right away, as the Vegas Golden Knights were in their rookie season (2017-18) when they advanced to the Stanley Cup final.

Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois has been in regular contact with the Kraken, discussing trade scenarios that would allow him to determine who on his roster goes to Seattle, but any deal would involve a sweetener that Tampa Bay is running low on after dealing top draft picks to build back-to-back Cup champions.

The Lightning submit their protection list today and it’s released by the league Sunday. Teams can go two ways in deciding their protection lists with either a combination of seven forwards, three defensemen and a goaltender, or eight skaters regardless of position and a goaltender.

“There isn’t one (factor) that’s overriding,” BriseBois said about choosing which players to protect. “Ultimately, we’re trying to try to keep the strongest group possible so that we can hopefully get on another ride and bring the Cup back again next year.”

Ultimately, the Lightning’s biggest decision is expected to be whether they protect veteran Ryan McDonagh, whose stock skyrocketed during a postseason in which he arguably was the league’s top defenseman.

If the Lightning go that route, they likely will protect four defensemen: Victor Hedman, Mikhail Sergachev, Erik Cernak and McDonagh. That would leave just four forwards to protect. Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos have no-move clauses so they are automatics. The other two forward spots presumably would go to Brayden Point and Anthony Cirelli.

That scenario would leave several key pieces to the Lightning’s run vulnerable, including veteran forwards Alex Killorn, Ondrej Palat, Yanni Gourde and Tyler Johnson — all of whom make between $4.45 and $5.3 million.

Even if one of those players doesn’t get selected, the Lightning might be forced to move one — maybe two — to get under the salary cap.

The best teams are built from the back out. You need a good goaltender, but after that, building a stout defenseman corps is paramount to winning, especially in the postseason, which is what we saw from the Lightning during the past two playoff runs.

If the Lightning opt to leave McDonagh unprotected, would the Kraken take him? McDonagh just turned 32 last month, and he’s owed $6.75 million a year for the next five seasons. That’s a huge financial commitment for a new team to take on. But there might not be a player available with a better combination of playoff experience, leadership and toughness to build a D-corps around than McDonagh.

“I would assume that would be the guy that Seattle would take,” Lightning TV broadcast analyst Brian Engblom said. “I certainly would. What a player, what a person he is, that would be the cornerstone of your D all around. He’s top level. So if you decide to go that route, I think you’re pretty much guaranteed to lose him.”

Aside from all those possibilities, the Kraken could choose one of the Lightning’s younger — and cheaper — contributors, like forwards Ross Colton and Mathieu Joseph or defenseman Cal Foote, all of whom are in line for more significant roles next season because of the inevitable cap turnover.

When Vegas entered the league four years ago, the Lightning — also handcuffed by cap issues — dealt veteran defenseman Travis Garrison and his $4.6 million salary to the Golden Knights. They also shipped Russian prospect Nikita Gusev and swapped a second-round pick in that year’s draft for a fourth-rounder the following year.

That trade allowed the Lightning to keep a pair of young defensemen — Jake Dotchin and Slater Koekkoek — neither of whom are still with the team. Koekkoek was traded to Chicago in 2019 in a deal that netted current Lightning defenseman Jan Rutta.

That offseason, the Lightning needed cap space to re-sign Palat, Johnson and Gourde, and previously made the deal to acquire Sergachev from Montreal for Jonathan Drouin.

The expansion draft could be just the beginning of a trade-heavy offseason. Blake Coleman, Barclay Goodrow and David Savard all become unrestricted free agents.

On Saturday, the Lightning traded Goodrow’s rights to the Rangers for a seventh-round pick in next year’s draft, giving New York exclusive negotiating rights with Goodrow until he hits the open market on July 28 when free agency begins.

With the amateur draft and free agency opening in the coming days, the Lightning will be busy with the No. 1 priority of clearing cap space.

“I would expect that once we’ve passed the expansion draft, I think there will be a certain number of trades coming up,” BriseBois said of potential movement around the league. “We’ve got our reasons why we need to make trades that are mostly cap related, but other teams are out there trying to win the Stanley Cup as well. They’re trying to improve their team. They’re looking for players and maybe they have cap issues of their own, so there’s a lot of chatter going on, as there usually is at this time of the year.”

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Kraken excited to begin process of building roster with Expansion Draft 17 July, 2021 - 08:19pm

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The Seattle Kraken are the focus of the hockey world until Wednesday.

Thirty of the 31 other NHL teams submitted their protected lists by the 5 p.m. ET deadline Saturday, which started a roster freeze that will last until after the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft presented by Upper Deck on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; ESPN2, SN, SN NOW).

The Vegas Golden Knights, the most recent expansion team in 2017, are exempt from having a player selected.

Protected lists will be released Sunday.

The Kraken will have had a little more than three days to go over the protected lists and figure out the one player to select from each of the 30 teams to start the process of putting together a roster for the 2021-22 NHL season.

Four years ago, Kraken general manager Ron Francis was on the outside looking in. As the GM of the Carolina Hurricanes at the time, he could only sit and wait while the Golden Knights held all the cards leading into the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft.

Now, the Kraken are about to make decisions that will change the planning process for every other team heading into the 2021 NHL Draft on Friday and Saturday, and the opening of free agency July 28.

"It's ironic, but I did have that same conversation with (Vegas general manager) Kelly [McCrimmon] three or four days ago, and he said the same thing," Francis said Saturday. "He said it was kind of crazy when they finally got the list. It was kind of surreal to know that everything in the hockey world was shut down, kind of waiting for 72 hours to go by, and what was going to take place at that point."

The NHL roster freeze ends at 1 p.m. ET on Thursday. Teams could protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie, or eight skaters (forwards/defensemen) and one goalie. Players with no-move clauses who decline to waive them, first- and second-year players, and all unsigned draft picks are exempt from selection and do not count toward protection limits.

The Kraken will select at least 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goalies in the expansion draft. They have an exclusive window from Sunday to Wednesday to interview and potentially sign pending free agents who were left unprotected in the expansion draft. If they sign a player in that window, it counts as their pick from that player's former team.

Francis hinted that NHL salary cap space will be a weapon he plans to use aggressively. The NHL is in a period of a flat cap, and teams are facing constraints with free agency on the horizon.

"We have $81.5 million of cap space to play with, so that's certainly something we want to make sure we try to take advantage of moving forward," Francis said.

The Kraken are ready to use that space, not just for the expansion draft, but also in free agency.

"I think we're fortunate that ownership has given us a green light to spend toward the cap, if we so see fit," Francis said. "We'll look at the team that we're able to draft, based on who's available, then we'll look at the needs that we think the team has, and we'll certainly try to venture out on the 28th when free agency hits and see if there are individuals there that maybe we can sign to fill some of those needs that we have."

The Kraken have been preparing for Wednesday for more than a year. Francis said the number of mock drafts they've had are "easily in the hundreds." 

"We've done this an awful lot over the last 18 months, so we're going to get the list tomorrow morning and then we'll kind of dive through those team by team and see if the person we thought might be available is available," Francis said. "There may be guys who are [unrestricted free agents] or are [restricted free agents] who are left unprotected, and we have the right to talk to those guys if we want to make them our choice. We'll try to get that done in the next 72 hours. A lot of moving parts, but I think we've been preparing for this for a long time, and we're excited that it's finally here." is the official web site of the National Hockey League. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup, the Stanley Cup Playoffs logo, the Stanley Cup Final logo, Center Ice name and logo, NHL Conference logos, NHL Winter Classic name, and The Biggest Assist Happens Off The Ice are registered trademarks and Stanley Cup Qualifiers name and logo, NHL.TV, Vintage Hockey word mark and logo, The Game Lives Where You Do, NHL Winter Classic logo, NHL Heritage Classic name and logo, NHL Stadium Series name and logo, NHL All-Star logo, NHL Face-Off name and logo, NHL. TV, NHL Premium, NHL After Dark, NHL GameCenter, NHL GameCenter LIVE, NHL Network name and logo, NHL Tonight name and logo, On The Fly, NHL Network Showdown name and logo, NHL Awards name and logo, NHL Draft name and logo, NHL Mascots, Hockey Fights Cancer, Because It's The Cup, NHL Green name and logo, NHL Vault, Hockey Is For Everyone, NHL Thanksgiving Showdown name and logo, NHL Centennial Classic name and logo, NHL Centennial Season logo, NHL100 Classic name and logo, NHL Global Series name and logo, NHL China Games name and logo, NHL Power Players name and logo, NHL Outdoors at Lake Tahoe name and logo, and Don't Miss A Moment are trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. © NHL 2021. All Rights Reserved. All NHL team jerseys customized with NHL players' names and numbers are officially licensed by the NHL and the NHLPA. The Zamboni word mark and configuration of the Zamboni ice resurfacing machine are registered trademarks of Frank J. Zamboni & Co., Inc.© Frank J. Zamboni & Co., Inc. 2021. All Rights Reserved. Any other third party trademarks or copyrights are the property of their respective owners. All rights reserved.

Expansion Draft Protection Day, Former Blackhawks on the Move, and Other Blackhawks Bullets 17 July, 2021 - 08:54am

“How’s everyone feeling out there tonight?! Yeah! I am not feeling good.”

That just about sums up where I am this morning in Texas.

Listen, I am 31-years-old and my body is no longer built to operate like it did when I was 21-years-old. I didn’t need a bachelor party in Texas to remind me of that, but here we are. What I am looking forward to is a nice afternoon floating down a lazy river, enjoying the sun…oh god, there’s definitely going to be drinks there too. More thoughts and prayers would be much appreciated.

As for hockey and the Blackhawks, we have reached July 17th, the deadline day for NHL teams to submit their Seattle Expansion Draft protection lists.

•   Teams will have until 5:00 p.m. ET/4:00 p.m. CT to submit their protection lists to the league offices.

NHL Teams must submit their protected players list to NHL Central Registry by 5 pm eastern today, for the upcoming expansion draft.

— John Shannon (@JShannonhl) July 17, 2021

•   A reminder, teams can either choose to protect seven forwards, three defensemen, and a goalie -or- eight skaters and a goalie. The Blackhawks will likely go the 7-3-1 route. Team protection lists will be made public tomorrow.

•   With the Expansion Draft coming up on Wednesday, today is also the day the roster freeze goes into effect.

A freeze on #NHL trades, waivers and contract signings goes into effect at 3 pm ET today and runs through Thursday, July 22. NHL teams are required to submit their expansion draft protections lists by 5 pm ET today.

— Spector's Hockey (@SpectorsHockey) July 17, 2021

•   Basically, today could either be real quiet or very busy. I think we could all appreciate a little quiet today, or maybe that’s just me.

•   From Scott Powers of The Athletic, it appears that the Blackhawks will be waiting until after the Expansion Draft on Wednesday to be making any sort of moves.

What I’m hearing about the Blackhawks’ offseason

— Scott Powers (@ByScottPowers) July 15, 2021

•   Scott is also reporting that the Blackhawks and restricted free agent Nikita Zadorov have not made much progress in recent weeks on getting a new contract. We learned earlier this offseason that Zadorov was going to be asking for a near-$6M AAV deal, but the Blackhawks were never going to pay him that. If a deal does get done, Chicago will probably end up footing a $4M AAV deal for the defenseman.

•   I thought his $3.2M deal was too high last year for what he brings to the table, and I’m not alone. Within Powers’ latest is a tidbit from Evolving-Hockey, projecting Zadorov’s next deal based on their estimation of his value, to be a three-year, $$2.89M AAV contract. If that was the price-tag for Zadorov, I’d feel a little better about it.

•   With Seth Jones grabbing all the Blackhawks headlines recently, we don’t want to forget about his younger brother, who is actually on the team, Caleb Jones.

Here’s What the Blackhawks Are Getting in Caleb Jones

— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) July 15, 2021

•   While the narrative around Caleb is that he is being used as a pawn to help Chicago land a deal for Seth Jones, Caleb has his own value on the ice to bring to the Blackhawks. The deal likely has more to do with that than it does with bringing Seth over.

•   Speaking of trades, yesterday a pair of former Blackhawks swapped teams.

UPDATE: The Detroit #RedWings acquired D Nick Leddy from the New York Islanders in exchange for F Richard Panik and the 52nd selection (originally EDM) in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft.

— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) July 17, 2021

•   Nick Leddy is headed to Detroit and Richard Panik (remember him?) is heading to the Islanders. At least Leddy will be allowed to grow a beard again.

•   The Seattle Expansion Draft is coming up on Wednesday and next weekend is the NHL Entry Draft. This is a time where teams are having intense scouting meetings and go over thousands and thousands of pages of data on these young players. Sometimes, stories like this come out this time of year.

At least nine NHL teams have dropped Logan Mailloux from their draft list after a November criminal conviction in Sweden.

Mailloux was investigated after he disseminated a picture of him and a woman engaged in a sexual act, taken without consent.

— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) July 16, 2021

•   A terrible decision that may have cost Mailloux a huge opportunity. Bigger than that, a decision that violated someone’s right to privacy.

•   I don’t know how to transition from that, but I’ll leave you with this:


— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) July 16, 2021

•   That will do it for today. Enjoy your Saturday!

•   REMINDER: Be sure to send in your questions for Monday’s Mailbag segment! Use the hashtag #BNHawksMailbag on Twitter or send them to Mario.tirabassi at bleacher nation dot com.

Mario Tirabassi is a writer for Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Mario_Tirabassi.

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