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Seattle Expansion Draft Series: Article 9 - Edmonton and Florida

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Carolina Hurricanes v Florida Panthers Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images

Welcome back to our Seattle Expansion Draft Series. If you haven’t read the first article that lays out the rules of the expansion draft, that would be a good starting point, as I’ll only give the very basic rules in each of these follow up articles. If you are interested in Detroit, that was the second article and the seventh article.

I’m going to take a look at either one or two other NHL teams each week. My goal is to get some input from people who cover the team because let’s face it, I don’t have the knowledge of each NHL team to be able to give you the best idea of what to expect. Keep in mind that there’s a lot that could happen between now and July, when the lists are finalized. So let’s dive into Edmonton and Florida!

Edmonton Oilers

Helping me with the Oilers is Jeff Chapman, the Managing Editor for The Copper and Blue, the SB Nation site for Edmonton.

Goalie

We’ll start with what appears to be the easiest position, since Mikko Koskinen looks to be the only goalie worth protecting. Mike Smith is 39 and a UFA, so it’s not really a question.

Defense

On defense, Edmonton has some questions. Before this season, Oscar Klefbom would be an easy choice, but he has injury concerns that could possibly prevent him from playing again. If Edmonton has reason to be optimistic about his long term health, they have to protect him, although you can definitely make an argument that Seattle wouldn’t consider him because of the health questions. From now, I’ll put him on the list.

Since Edmonton doesn’t have a lot of forwards after the first few that they will definitely protect, I am going 8-1, protecting four defensemen. The other three are Darnell Nurse, Ethan Bear, and Caleb Jones. Since I don’t know too much about the Oilers, I wasn’t sure if they would to 7-3-1 or 8-1, but from talking to Chapman, I think 8-1 makes sense.

As Chapman puts it: “Up until very recently I wasn’t sold that Caleb Jones was at all in Edmonton’s plans going forward. Even though they acquired Dmitry Kulikov from the Devils at the trade deadline, Jones still appears on the roster. It’s a big (and welcome) change from seeing Kris Russell’s name in the lineup each night.”

Forwards

On to the forwards. I think that these Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl characters are pretty good. After that, Jesse Puljujärvi is showing that he’s a player worth holding onto after some concerns about how Edmonton handled his development. He’s currently playing on the top line. Kailer Yamamoto is currently on the second line, and the young winger is the last forward on the list.

Dominik Kahun is currently on Edmonton’s first line, but Chapman says “Kahun has played anywhere from top line to third line and been a healthy scratch on more than one occasion.” Seattle could still take a look at him,

Current Predicted Protections

Mikko Koskinen

Connor McDavid
Leon Draisaitl
Jesse Puljujärvi
Kailer Yamamoto

Darnell Nurse
Caleb Jones
Oscar Klefbom
Ethan Bear

Notable Unprotected Players

William Lagesson
Josh Archibald
Dominik Kahun

Florida Panthers

I wasn’t able to find someone to help me with Florida, so let’s see how this goes!

Goalie

At least goalie is easy. Obviously Sergei Bobrovsky has not had the start to his Panther tenure that the team hoped when they signed him to that massive contract. He’s been better this season, and he has a no movement clause.

Defense

This is the point that it would be really helpful to have input from someone who follows Florida. Keith Yandle has a NMC. He’s also 34 and having a poor season. According to Evolving Hockey’s WAR model, he has the worst Standing Points Above Replacement for Florida defenders this season. He’s currently playing on their third pair.

Florida’s top three defenders in SPAR are MacKenzie Weeger, Gustav Forsling, and Aaron Ekblad, in descending order. If I’m Florida, I’m finding a way to make sure Yandle agrees to waive his NMC for the expansion draft. I don’t think Seattle would take him, but I don’t know enough to know how likely it is that Yandle would not want to waive.

So basically keep in mind that if he doesn’t waive, Florida would have to expose one of the above players, barring a deal with Seattle.

Forwards

On the forward side, there are five players I look at that I would protect right off the bat. Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Anthony Duclair, Carter Verhaeghe, and Sam Bennett. Huberdeau has a NMC, but the team should protect him regardless.

That leaves two slots. I’m really not very confident about these picks, but I have to make them. I’ll go with Frank Vatrano, who is currently playing on Florida’s third line and is 6th in SPAR for Florida forwards. For the last spot, I’m putting Mason Marchment. This would leave Patric Hornqvist exposed. I don’t know how the team views him. He’s 34 with a cap hit of $5.3M, and I don’t see any reason to protect him. But I wouldn’t have acquired him, so they might feel differently.

Current Predicted Protections

Sergei Bobrovsky (NMC)

Ekblad
Weegar
Forsling

Barkov
Huberdeau (NMC)
Duclair
Verhaeghe
Bennett
Vatrano
Marchment

Notable Unprotected Players

Patric Hornqvist

Previous Articles

Article 1: The Rules
Article 2: Detroit (First Time)
Article 3: Anaheim and Arizona
Article 4: Boston and Buffalo
Article 5: Calgary and Carolina
Article 6 - Chicago and Colorado
Article 7 - Detroit (Second Time)
Quick Rules Update
Article 8 - Columbus and Dallas