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Predicting The Expansion Draft: Ottawa and Philadelphia

Putting the Senators and Flyers under the magnifying glass.

Ottawa Senators v Philadelphia Flyers

Moving along in our Expansion draft coverage, today we look at the Ottawa Senators and Philadelphia Flyers. As Peter always explains, we covered rules and exemptions and whatnot back in the Detroit post - check that out via the storystream at the end of the article if you need a refresher. For relevant exemptions, contract statuses, and clauses with the Sens and Flyers, head to and use their Expansion Draft Tool.

Ottawa Senators

SBN Blog: Silver Seven

Daily Faceoff Current Lines: Here

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


With no NMCs in play at forward, the Sens are free to choose whomever they feel best keeps the organization winning - and currently sitting at 2nd in the Atlantic with the dead weight of Clarke MacArthur’s contract, they definitely need to work carefully to try to keep as much of their successful core together as they can. Step 1 is protecting the top 2 forward lines - Zach Smith, Derick Brassard, Mark Stone, Ryan Dzingel, Kyle Turris, and Bobby Ryan. These guys are all points leaders on the team, so being their top scoring forwards occupying the top two lines, there shouldn’t be much debate.

Spot #7, although he shouldn’t be considered the 7th best forward in Ottawa, will belong to current 3rd-liner Mike Hoffman. The left winger has a solid 37 points in 47 games, and helps give the Sens true scoring threats on all 3 of their top lines. One could actually make somewhat of an argument that Bobby Ryan is the 7th best forward of this group... and while not performing to the level that he did in his younger days in Anaheim, that’s still a scary thought that someone of Bobby Ryan’s skill would be considered your 7th best forward.


Dion Phaneuf has a No Movement Clause in play, which we don’t expect him to waive (as per usual). Erik Karlsson is a no-brainer for protection, as he continues to perform beyond what anyone would think is possible in terms of offensive production for a defenseman and leads the Senators in points.

The third defensive spot will probably be the toughest debate for the Senators. On one hand, they could protect Marc Methot. The top line pair to Erik Karlsson is the shut-down guy that lets Karlsson work his magic, but doesn’t have spectacular offensive output and isn’t currently listed as an asset with the man-advantage. On the other hand, Chris Wideman (4 years Methot’s junior) has better offensive numbers and gets power play time. His downside though is that he’s only trusted with 3rd line minutes during 5-on-5 play.

At the moment, we feel that you have to give deference to the guy who lets Karlsson be Karlsson. But, Wideman could make for some great trade bait or a fun panic-choice by Ottawa at the protection deadline. Given the talent that Ottawa has at forward, there’s no way their management opts to protect Wideman in favor of 3 of the above names.


Mike Condon has filled in admirably with some injuries and rough play from Craig Anderson and Andrew Hammond. Getting the bulk of the starts thus far this season, Condon looks to be the main guy between the pipes for the future.


To make this scheme work, Ottawa needs to get 2 forward contracts signed. They have 4 pending UFAs in Tommy Wingels, Chris Neil, Chris Kelly, and Tom Pyatt who are all great options to sign-and-expose.

Final Protected List

Forward: Zach Smith, Derick Brassard, Mark Stone, Ryan Dzingel, Kyle Turris, Mike Hoffman, Bobby Ryan

Defense: Dion Phaneuf, Erik Karlsson, Marc Methot

Goalie: Mike Condon

Philadelphia Flyers

SBN Blog: Broad Street Hockey

Daily Faceoff Current Lines: Here

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


The stand-outs for Philly are Claude Giroux with his NMC, Wayne Simmonds, Jakub Voracek, and Brayden Schenn. Add in Sean Couturier, and the Flyers have stabilized major parts of their top 2 lines as well as their top 3 centers. This group, minus the exempt Travis Konecny, also makes up the top set of points producing forwards for Philly.

With the last two spots, young Nick Cousins will probably find himself protected along with Michael Raffl. Cousins is currently occupying a spot on Philadelphia’s second line, playing left wing to Couturier at center and Simmonds at right wing, and has a spot as the right wing on the second power play unit.

Raffl is playing one line up from Cousins at 5-on-5, flanking Giroux and Voracek on the Flyers’ top line, but doesn’t seem to be getting much time on the power play if any. If it weren’t for his current line-mates, Raffl could probably be debated along with Matt Read and Chris VandeVelde. But given that he’s been entrusted with the top line duties wile Read and VandeVelde occupy the 3rd and 4th lines, respectively, we have Raffl with the advantage for now.


Typically before we write these articles, Peter and I chat again about our predictions. We didn’t get a chance to do that this time. As a result, Peter wasn’t able to add his input about defenseman Andrew MacDonald, which consisted of:

  • “He’s awful”
  • “He’s terrible”
  • “I’m pretty sure Islanders fans threw a parade when he left”

So, while he is on the top pairing, and his stats are not much worse than other options, we’ve added an additional paragraph at the bottom of the next section about who they should protect if not MacDonald.


There are 3 big names on the Flyers’ defense right now in terms of offensive production - Ivan Provorov, Shayne Gostisbehere, and Mark Streit. The only one of these 3 that we’re protecting is Gostisbehere. Provorov is exempt, and Streit is currently 39 years old and a pending UFA - if Streit wants to come back, then he will.

Paired with Provorov, we’re using protection spot #2 on Andrew MacDonald. Despite a lackluster 12 points in 47 games and virtually no time on the power play this season for MacDonald, Provorov has done well playing next to the 30-year-old MacDonald as Philadelphia’s top unit. If they trust him to be the guy bringing Provorov along, why split that up?

With the last protection spot on defense, we’re currently selecting Radko Gudas. He seems to be the best of what’s left. Gudas is unafraid to lay out hits, racking up 174 already on the season according to His HERO chart from Own The Puck also shows skill at generating shots, and all this combined with his points production this year probably places him just ahead of Michael Del Zotto on the depth chart and into the final protection spot. MDZ is also a pending UFA this offseason, but if he picks up his play and re-signs then it could create some interesting debate between himself, Gudas, and possibly MacDonald on who gets protected.

*If MacDonald isn’t protected (see update above), the most likely scenario would see MDZ extended and protected, or the team protecting a younger, cheaper player like Brandon Manning.


This could get interesting. At the moment, the Flyers have to leave 23-year-old Anthony Stolarz exposed per the NHL’s exposure requirements for each team - he’s the only Philadelphia goalie that is under team control beyond this season. The problem is, he’s also the goalie that has put up the best numbers for the Flyers even though it’s been in a VERY small sample size of 4 games played and only 2 starts.

The majority of the starts this season have gone to Steve Mason, and he’s probably the best bet for who Philly protects in net until the situation changes. But if he gets more playing time, you can be sure that Stolarz will be looking to force that situation to change.


None. If Philadelphia rolls out this protection scheme, they have all the exposure requirements met.

Final Protected List

Forward: Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds, Jakub Voracek, Brayden Schenn, Sean Couturier, Nick Cousins, Michael Raffl

Defense: Andrew MacDonald*, Shayne Gostisbehere, Radko Gudas

Goalie: Steve Mason