But let's all welcome Ca[Friendly to our lives. They're kicking off this season by releasing an expansion draft tool. It allows you to go through each team's list of potentially-protected players, select who you expect them to keep, and then draft a team of the unprotected scraps.
I did it, and here's who I ended up with as the Las Vegas Sand Knights.
Dustin Brown - Eric Staal - Matt Beleskey
Ondrej Palat - Darren Helm - Jussi Jokinen
Dmitrij Jaskin - Oskar Lindberg - Marko Dano
Lars Eller - Casey Cizikas - Ryan White
We have a good mix in terms of age and talent here. A couple of guys on the tail end of their careers mixed with some young guys with a lot of potential.
Cam Fowler - Mattias Ekholm
Justin Braun - Radko Gudas
Jyrki Jokipakka - Trevor van Riemsdyk
To be completely honest with you, I'm not sure if any of these defensemen are good.
I expect Fleury to waive him No Movement Clause and allow himself to be exposed for Las Vegas.
A Few Other Notes
- Tampa is locked into protecting Stamkos, Callahan, and Filppula. They'll use their 3 defenseman spots on Hedman (definitely), Stralman (probably), and Sustr/Nesterov (one of the two). They have 4 forward spots to try to squeeze Kucherov, Killorn, Johnson, Palat, Namestnikov, and Drouin. They have to let someone go, and both Johnson & Palat are due big contracts next summer. Maybe Killorn's contract scares them and they expose him, but Tampa is losing a big-named forward.
- Similarly, Anaheim is going to lose a defenseman. Regardless of whether they protect 7/3/1 or 8/2, they will lose one of these four guys: Lindholm, Vatanen, Fowler, Despres. They're all in their mid-twenties at manageable cap hits, and it's going to make for a nice addition to LV.
- The Coyotes could survive with only protecting Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Anthony Duclair, and Tobias Rieder. Everyone beyond those three is either already protected or completely expendable. Maybe we can give them a carbon credit for their extra unused spots?
- I think the Red Wings are going to expose Henrik Zetterberg. He's already 36, and he's on the books for upwards of $6 million per year until he's 41. If they elect to keep him, it means they're giving up one of either Tatar, Sheahan, Mantha, or Athanasiou to save Zetterberg.
- Two of the three Rangers defense spots are taken by Marc Staal and Dan Girardi's No Movement Clauses. I feel like that's always worth a mention.
And finally, let's bring it on home to Philadelphia. We know they're protecting these guys:
- Forward: Giroux, Voracek, Schenn, Couturier, Simmonds, Raffl
- Defense: Gostisbehere, Del Zotto
That leaves one forward spots and one defense spot for these litters:
- Forward: Read, Weise, Laughton, Cousins
- Defense: MacDonald, Gudas, Manning
MacDonald is obviously not getting protected, so it's Gudas (at $3.35 million until 2020) or Manning (at $975k until 2018). If Manning continues his play from this first stretch of the season and Gudas takes another dumb suspension this year, you may be looking at Expansion Draft Protected Brandon Manning in June.
And then obviously we'll protect Steve Mason when we extend him in December. Obviously.