Finally, the day is here! NHL teams have until 5:00pm today to submit their protection lists for the Expansion Draft. The first deadline is 3:00 pm (which already passed when this article was published.) At that time, roster freezes go into effect and teams can only deal with Vegas until the Golden Knights’ selections are revealed on the 21st at the NHL Awards Show.
With that in mind, teams will scramble up until the last second to make sure Vegas has nothing of value to take for their roster. We’ve already seen some moves made, with buy-outs happening earlier in the week and the Jonathan Drouin trade from Tampa Bay to Montreal. Here’s what we know so far, and the rumors that are floating around:
Confirmation on How RFAs Will Work
If you listened to the last podcast where Mike and I (and JJ and Jeff) talked about expansion draft topics, one of the areas of uncertainty was if RFAs could be selected in the expansion draft or if they could only be signed during Vegas’ early negotiating window.
I reached out to CapFriendly and received confirmation of the possibilities with RFAs.
- Vegas can sign RFAs during their negotiating window that starts after teams submit their rosters.
- An unprotected RFA can be selected by Vegas during the expansion draft as long as Vegas hasn’t signed another player from that team.
- Vegas will then control that player’s rights, so if a player refused to sign, they could go to arbitration, etc.
- Technically, Vegas could also select a UFA in the x-draft (as opposed to signing him during their negotiating window), but that makes no sense. If they didn’t sign with Vegas before, why would they after? Vegas would essentially waste a pick.
Drouin to Montreal
This allows the Lightning to protect another valuable forward, likely the second part of Alex Killorn and Vladimir Namestnikov. (Tampa Bay cleared up a protection spot for one of them in the Filppula trade.) Montreal probably takes a protection spot from Radulov, who supposedly wants to return to Montreal but is nowhere near their contract capabilities, and definitely protects Drouin.
Tobias Enstrom will waive his NMC
Word is Tobias Enstrom has done WIN a huge favour, agreed to waive his NMC to help the Jets with the expansion draft.— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) June 17, 2017
This fixes the issue that Winnipeg had trying to protect Tyler Myers.
Mike Smith to Calgary
At about 1:00PM Saturday, rumors started swirling about Arizona goalie Mike Smith going to Calgary. This would create an interesting situation, since Arizona would then have to expose Louis Domingue (unless they acquired another goalie).
Assuming trade call gets done, ARI to retain 25 per cent of Smith's salary. CGY will send rights to Brandon Hickey + conditional 3rd rder...— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 17, 2017
Chad Johnson is also going to Arizona, although he is still a UFA, as of the time of the trade. So if Arizona doesn’t sign him before 3pm, they have to expose Domingue.
Full Mike Smith deal is for Chad Johnson, Brandon Hickey and a third that becomes a second if CAL makes playoff. ARIZ retains 25% of salary.— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) June 17, 2017
Nathan Beaulieu to Buffalo
The Canadiens had to choose between Jordie Benn and Nathan Beaulieu for their last protection spot on D. Looks like they chose Benn.
While this return is not a big haul, if Montreal felt that they would lose him in the expansion draft for nothing, that would explain it. I would have loved to acquire Beaulieu for a 3rd round pick.
The Canadiens acquire BUF's 3rd-round pick (68) in 2017 , in return for N. Beaulieu.— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) June 17, 2017
Galchenyuk to move
The Drouin acquisition is driving rumblings that Alex Galchenyuk could be on his way out of Montreal. Nothing concrete yet, but there are rumblings.
As of this article’s publication, no news of a Galchenyuk deal was to be had. I (Peter) think that it would be foolish to trade him, unless it was a for a huge return. But it’s Marc Bergevin, so....
Another Facet to Consider
Don’t forget that Vegas can make deals with Team A to select an unprotected player from a Team B, then trade that player to Team A.
Lots of teams waiting for lists to be announced Sunday so they can then call Vegas and work out trades for unprotected guys from other teams— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) June 17, 2017
Protected lists are set to be released to the public tomorrow, Sunday, at 10AM ET.
The Red Wings list should be pretty straightforward, although who knows?
Check back tomorrow for news and analysis on that. Also, we are planning to record an expansion draft podcast Monday night, after we have access to the official protected lists, which will go live Tuesday.