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Seattle Expansion Draft Series: Article 13 - New York Rangers and Ottawa Senators

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New York Rangers v New York Islanders Photo by Mike Stobe/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 the Rangers and the Senators!

New York Rangers

For the Rangers, I immediately thought of Shayna Goldman, who covers the team for The Athletic and Blueshirt Banter. Shayna is a fantastic writer and analyst, and if you don’t read her writing, you definitely should.

Goalie

Goalie is easy. As the roster stands now, it’s going to be Alexandar Georgiev.

Defense

Defense is similarly easy, with the likely trio being Jacob Trouba, who has a NMC, and two twenty-three year olds in Ryan Lindgren and Libor Hajek.

Forwards

One question that I ask everyone helping me is “what big questions does the team have to answer for the expansion draft?” This is what Shayna had to say, which I’m putting here because it mainly addresses the forwards:

[The] big decisions revolve around Pavel Buchnevich’s future, and if they can’t afford to pay him, where do they try to trade him? And would that come before the expansion draft? (I’m not so sure). They may trade for a center too, and that puts Strome, Chytil, Buchnevich’s etc.’s futures in the air as well. I’m not sure any of that comes pre-expansion draft, so those big decisions can wait.

For now, we are making predictions based on the current roster. So, keep in mind that a trade could shake things up. That being said, most of the forwards are easy choices.

Artemi Panarin, Chris Kreider, and Mika Zibanejad have NMCs, and they are going to be protected. Then Ryan Strome, Pavel Buchnevich, and Filip Chytil.

My last player I protected on the list I sent to Shayna is Julien Gauthier. Here’s what Shayna had to say about that:

There is a chance they don’t protect Gauthier. It really is hard to project because it’s now the Chris Drury era. The team values Brett Howden, it seems, and Colin Blackwell was appreciated for being a good utility player this year. If they expose Gauthier, there’s a good chance he’s selected because of the Ron Francis connection plus he actually has potential. So one of those three will be protected, and there’s a chance one of those two who are exposed get drafted.

You aren’t wrong in protecting Gauthier because it’s a logical choice, it’s just not a slam dunk either.

So while I’ll keep Gauthier for now, keep in mind that this is currently the spot that could be in flux.

Current Predicted Protections

Alexandar Georgiev

Jacob Trouba (NMC)
Ryan Lindgren
Libor Hajek

Artemi Panarin (NMC)
Chris Kreider (NMC)
Mika Zibanejad (NMC)
Ryan Strome
Pavel Buchnevich
Filip Chytil
Julian Gauthier

Notable Unprotected Players

Brett Howden
Colin Blackwell

Ottawa Senators

I was not able to talk to someone who covers Ottawa, so please take this section with a huge shaker of salt. If there are any obvious mistakes, please let me know in the comments.

Goalie

What I’ve been doing to start for any team is to take a look at the Evolving Hockey WAR ratings and the lineups through Daily Faceoff. I’m trying to get a feel for which players are providing the most value to the team while using the lineups to look for other players that the team shows they value by playing them high in the lineup.

Ottawa has Matt Murray making 6.25M a year, while Filip Gustavsson is younger, cheaper, and played much better this season. Murray had a negative 15.31 Goals Saved Above Expected (from Evolving Hockey), while Gustavsson had positive 3. This shouldn’t be a hard decision, but who knows if Ottawa will make the right one.

Defense

Ottawa only has five eligible defensemen, which is lower than many other teams. They’ll go with Thomas Chabot, Victor Mete, and Nikita Zaitsev. At least it seems to me like they should. Any other defensemen that would make sense are exempt. Nice problem to have.

Forwards

Going down the list of WAR for eligible players from Evolving Hockey, we have Austin Watson, Nick Paul, Connor Brown, Drake Batherson, and Brady Tkachuk. That makes five. From their NHL roster, going from the top, we can add Evgeni Dadonov. Captain Colin White makes it seven. Am I missing someone? Maybe!

Current Predicted Protections

Filip Gustavsson

Thomas Chabot
Victor Mete
Nikita Zaitsev

Austin Watson
Nick Paul
Connor Brown
Drake Batherson
Brady Tkachuk
Evgeni Dadonov
Colin White

Notable Unprotected Players

Matt Murray

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
Article 9 - Edmonton and Florida
Article 10 - Los Angeles and Minnesota
Article 11 - Montreal and Nashville
Article 12 - New Jersey and New York (Islanders)