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Predicting the Expansion Draft: Carolina and Chicago

Today we look at a team that’s relatively difficult to predict and a team that’s relatively easy (although maybe not)

NHL: JAN 08 Predators at Blackhawks Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Here we go again with our fourth installment in our Predicting the Expansion Draft series. If you scroll to the bottom of this entry, you can see the previous entries (look for “In This Storystream.”

As always, take a look at CapFriendly’s expansion tool. This will show you who’s exempt, as well as who meets the exposure requirements.

The Arizona and Boston article has our take on how teams will look at UFAs and RFAs, and the Buffalo and Calgary article has a primer on how players are determined to be exempt.

Since both teams will not currently meet the exposure requirements, here is a quick summary of what those exposure requirements are (from Capfriendly)

Capfriendly.com

The Capfriendly expansion draft tool keeps track of these requirements for you, so give it a look if you haven’t.

Carolina Hurricanes

SB Nation Blog: Canes’ Country

Daily Faceoff Current Lines: Here

Our Projected Protection Choice: 7 Forwards, 3 Defense, 1 Goalie

Forwards

The Carolina Hurricanes have a great situation in terms of exempt players. On the forward side, Sebastian Aho is exempt, as well as defensemen Noah Hanifin, Jaccob Slavin, and Brett Pesce. That’s three of their current six defensemen. The reason I’m talking about defense in the forward section is that it means that Carolina can easily choose the 7-3-1 protection plan.

Jordan Staal has an NMC, so that’s a given. Jeff Skinner and Victor Rask (Carolina’s top two scorers) are easy protects. Third leading scorer Teuvo Teravainen is pretty obvious as well. That gets us to four forwards. At this point, Carolina has a few options.

We protected Lee Stempniak (2 points behind Teravainen currently), although Stempniak could be a good candidate for Carolina to try to trade. After that, we went with young players Brock McGinn and Elias Lindholm (both 22 years old).

Carolina has two names that could warrant a protection spot, especially if Stempniak is traded. Ty Rattie was just claimed off waivers and is listed as being on Carolina’s first line, although time will tell if he will stay there. (Update: Nope.) 23 year-old Phil Di Giuseppe has 12 points in 19 games in the AHL, but we think he’s behind McGinn and Lindholm for protection.

Defense

Carolina is in a good position because of their exempt defensemen discussed above. Justin Faulk is an easy choice. The other two are more of a question. Players to look at for these two spots are Ryan Murphy, Klas Dahlbeck, Trevor Carrick, and Matt Tennyson.

Tennyson has 7 points in 9 games in the AHL this season, while Carrick has 4 points in 17 AHL games. Advanced stats for Murphy and Dahlbeck at the NHL level this season are only based off 10 games, and Tennyson’s stats aren’t that great. He’s also a UFA, so we don’t see them spending a spot on him. Carrick and Dalhbeck are both RFAs at the end of this season.

We are selecting Ryan Murphy and Klas Dahlbeck for protection, although Carrick could be a good choice depending on what happens down the stretch.

Goalie

Carolina’s draft-eligible goalies are Cam Ward, Eddie Lack, Daniel Altshuller, and Michael Leighton.

Cam Ward has outplayed Lack this season, although neither has played that well. Neither Leighton nor Altshuller have done anything this season to make them worthy of a protection spot. It seems unlikely that Vegas will select any of the Carolina goalies, but we have to pick someone, so we picked Cam Ward.

Complications

With our protected players, Carolina currently falls one forward and one defenseman short of the player exposure rule. They could rectify this up front by exposing Stempniak or Lindholm. Or, they could just sign a player to meet the requirement. On defense, the easiest thing to do would be to extend Dahlbeck and expose him, which would likely lead to the Hurricanes protecting a player like Carrick.

Final Protected List

Forward: Jordan Staal (NMC), Jeff Skinner, Victor Rask, Teuvo Teravainen, Lee Stempniak, Brock McGinn, Elias Lindholm

Defense: Justin Faulk, Ryan Murphy, Klas Dahlbeck

Goalie: Cam Ward

Chicago

SB Nation Blog: Second City Hockey

Daily Faceoff Current Lines: Here

Our Projected Protection Choice: 7 Forwards, 3 Defense, 1 Goalie

Chicago did Mike and me a favor by having a roster with eight, count ‘em eight, No Move Clauses. They already have to protect four forwards, three defensemen, and one goalie. So, as the roster stands now, they have to choose whether to protect one additional defenseman or three additional forwards.

Basically, Chicago’s NMCs mean that they will very likely lose a player they would rather not lose.

Forwards

Let’s get the easy part out of the way first. Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, and Artem Anisimov all have No Move Clauses and must be protected. Artemi Panarin is exempt from the draft, otherwise Chicago would have no choice, as they would never leave him unprotected. Current 1LW Vince Hinostroza is also exempt.

We predict the team will leave Marcus Kruger unprotected, partially because of his 3M cap hit on a team that is loaded down with high cap hits. He also satisfies one of the forward exposure slots.

Our picks for the last 3 forward slots are Richard Panik, Ryan Hartman, and Dennis Rasmussen.

One of the aspects of each roster we always look at for these articles is if there are younger players the team may want to protect. Chicago’s bottom six forwards this year have not been much to write home about, so you would figure that if one of their younger, non-exempt forwards were worth protecting, he would be currently in the NHL.

Of course, this raises the possibility of Chicago choosing to leave these three forwards exposed and protect an additional defenseman. We’ll take a look at that, right about....now.

Defense

Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith, and Niklas Hjalmarsson all have NMCs. Rounding out Chicago’s current top two pairings is Michal Kempny, who is exempt.

Brian Campbell is a UFA, and is playing third pair. He’ll also be 38 next year. If the team wants to keep him for another year and he agrees to another cheap deal, they could extend him and protect him, but that doesn’t seem likely.

Trevor Van Riemsdyk rounds out the Hawks’ current defense corps. He also satisfies the exposure requirement for defense, so he makes the most sense to expose, at least as the rosters stand now.

Another possibility is Ville Pokka, who is 22 and has 2 goals and 14 assists for Rockford this year in the AHL.

Goalie

On the one hand, Chicago’s goalie situation is cut-and-dry. On the other hand, it could also be the team’s most likely scenario to lose a player.

Corey Crawford has an NMC and must be protected. Of course, he would be protected anyway. But Scott Darling could be an intriguing option for Vegas. He’ll be a UFA after this season, and could be a solid option for a second goalie for the Golden* Knights. He’s filled in well when Crawford has been out. If Vegas signs Darling during their early window, then all the above selections would be moot as Vegas could not take another Hawks player in that situation.

*name awaiting confirmation

Complications

If they make the selections we choose, Chicago has to expose an additional forward who satisfies the exposure requirements. Ryan Hartman will satisfy that requirement as long as he plays two more games this year. Richard Panik would fill this role as well if the Hawks extend him a qualifying offer before the expansion draft and leave him exposed. If the Hawks protect an additional defenseman, that will solve the problem.

Final Protected List

Forward: Patrick Kane (NMC), Jonathan Toews (NMC), Marian Hossa (NMC), Artem Anisimov (NMC), Richard Panik, Ryan Hartman, Dennis Rasmussen.

Defense: Brent Seabrook (NMC), Duncan Keith (NMC), Niklas Hjalmarsson (NMC)

Goalie: Corey Crawford (NMC)