Early Expansion Impact On Red Wings

With the NHL set to expand next summer, it is no doubt on the back of the minds of the league general managers as we approach this offseason.

Generalfanager.com has a list of expansion rules for 2017 based on reporting from various NHL writers;

  • " Players with two years of professional experience or less are exempt from the process.
  • Players with NMCs must be protected, but may be exposed if the player agrees to waive his NMC
  • Teams can protect 7 forwards, 3 defensemen and 1 goaltender
  • Teams must expose 2 forwards and 1 defenseman that play 40 games in the 2016-17 season or 70 games between the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons. Players that have already exceeded the 70 game threshold are denoted as 70, players projected to exceed either the 40/70 game thresholds are denoted as 40/70.
  • Teams must expose one goaltender who is either under contract for 2017-18 or an RFA in the 2017 off-season."
  • Also important to note that TSN's Daren Dreger Mentioned on a radio appearance regarding expansion draft rules, "Bill Daly (National Hockey League Deputy Commissioner) tells me there's so much misinformation out there, I can't even begin to start."
With that in mind nothing is set in stone and the rules are unofficial at this point. However, let's take an early look at how expansion may impact the Red Wings if the expansion draft was held today. For our scenario, we won't include players that are unrestricted free agents such as Kyle Quincey and departed players like Pavel Datsyuk.

Keep in mind part of the reason for doing this example before free agency and trades is to get an idea of who would get bumped off the protected list.

Dylan Larkin falls under the "players with two years of professional experience or less are exempt from the process" category and would not need to be protected by the Red Wings.

To satisfy the 40/70 rule the defenseman left unprotected is Jonathan Ericsson and the forwards are Teemu Pulkkinen and Tomas Jurco. Depending on what happens with trading Datsyuk's contract and other offseason moves this can and most likely will change.

Also important to know is that Luke Glendening and Brendan Smith are both unrestricted free agents on July 1st, 2017 so if both are unsigned at the time of the expansion draft then there is no need to protect them. Also, if either signs an extension, I'm not sure how much sense it would make to sign them and then leave them unprotected. With that in mind we will not protect them at this time.

Now we are ready to proceed with our list.
My possible Red Wings Protected List:

(Teams can protect 7 forwards, 3 defensemen and 1 goaltender)

The goalie to protect is easy and requires no debate: Petr Mrazek

The defenseman are more tricky. Xavier Ouellet, Alexey Marchenko and Ryan Sproul are three defenseman you would rather not walk out the door.

Danny Dekeyser will be protected, so that leaves two spots left. A name that will be up for debate depending on how he does the 2016-17 season would be Mike Green. Before he is left unprotected, the Red Wings would need to be aware of what defenseman are available in July of 2017. Brent Burns, Victor Hedman and Kevin Shattenkirk are unrestricted free agents in 2017, so if any of these are not signed the Red Wings should think hard about leaving Green unprotected and hope Las Vegas selects him so they may pursue one of those guys in free agency. For now in my early scenario he is protected.

My last defenseman protected is Marchenko. I think he will really continue to improve this upcoming season and be an even more core player on the defense.

Niklas Kronwall was not even under consideration to be protected in my scenario. Of course if Ouellet or Sproul are on the roster and playing well that will also factor in the Green decision.

As for the forwards; Henrik Zetterberg, Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, and Riley Sheahan are my locks to be protected. Justin Abdelkader will also be protected.Especially when looking to the forwards possible available in 2017 via free agency no player on the list is a must get for me at the point. The Red Wings in my scenario have two forward spots open that are not locks. Remember we have to leave Jurco and Pulkinnen unprotected for the 40/70 rule, so they remain in limbo depending on forward additions this summer.

Protected Unprotected Could Go Either Way 2017 UFA Notable Exempt
Henrik Zetterberg Martin Frk Tomas Jurco
Brendan Smith
Dylan Larkin
Gustav Nyquist Tomas Nosek Teemu Pulkkinen Luke Glendening Anthony Mantha
Riley Sheahan Mitch Callahan Andreas Athanasiou
Tomas Tatar Louis-Marc Aubry Evgeny Svechnikov
Justin Abdelkader Johan Franzen
Danny Dekeyser Eric Tangradi
Alexey Marchenko Colin Campbell
Mike Green Niklas Kronwall
Petr Mrazek Jonathan Ericsson
Nick Jensen
Xavier Ouellet
Ryan Sproul
Jimmy Howard

Also if you want to protect a fourth defenseman, the Red Wings could only protect four forwards as when you protect the extra defenseman you are allowed to protect eight skaters versus protecting seven forwards and three defenseman, which is how I approached this scenario.

Keep in mind the expansion rules will become clear in the weeks and months ahead, which will change the thinking on who to protect or not. If someone is moved with Datsyuk's contract, free agents are signed, and trades happen this list obviously will change.