NHL Expansion Draft: St. Louis Blues Protection Strategy

Posted June 19, 2017

Seventeen years have passed, and it appears general managers are still determining how to best protect their rosters, even as a key deadline for the Vegas Golden Knights draft draws near. Both were selected by the Minnesota Wild, who joined the National Hockey League along with the Columbus Blue Jackets for the 2000-01 season.

"We have an idea of who we're going to protect, but I'm not going to let anybody know what those players are because we're still talking to different teams and we still might make a move", Canucks GM Jim Benning said.

"This means that before the Golden Knights claim a player off a team's unprotected list", Vegas said via a statement issued Saturday, "McPhee and his staff are willing to negotiate deals so the other clubs do not lose a player they would otherwise like to keep". They can protect seven forwards, three defencemen and one goaltender or eight skaters (forwards/defencemen) and one goaltender.

But for now it's all about mock drafts, the looming expansion draft and the NHL Awards Show that absolutely nobody is talking about with the Vegas expansion extravaganza set to overshadow the whole thing. I don't think the Oilers will surprise anyone with the names on their protected list, but that remains to be seen.

Losing a quality blueliner like Connor Murphy isn't going to improve the situation in Arizona, especially after the team's goaltenders struggled horribly in between the pipes all last season.

In the last expansion draft, back in 2000, the Kings lost defenseman Sean O'Donnell as the seventh overall pick and tough guy Steve McKenna as the 37th.

Regarding Abdelkader, who's 30 years old and signed through 2023 with a cap hit of $4.25 million, it's likely the Wings valued his grit and leadership.

Florida also left captain Derek MacKenzie and veteran forwards Jussi Jokinen and Colton Sceviour available. Brodziak and Jaskin are players the Blues would certainly love to retain, but could be nice pieces for the Golden Knights to snag to fill immediate roles on the inaugural team. Any pending free agent signed would count as Vegas' expansion-draft selection from that player's team.

McPhee said the Golden Knights will truly be built by way of the entry draft, not the expansion draft, so that might indicate a plan to pick a team that might struggle from puck drop in October compared to what he could've picked if the return is strong enough. Neal scored a total of 23 goals this season.

Another example is the New York Islanders, who went with the unique decision of protecting five defensemen, leaving forwards like Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey available.

Sunday, June 18 Deadline for Central Registry to approve and simultaneously distribute the Protection Lists to all NHL Clubs (including the Expansion Club) and the NHLPA (10 a.m. ET).

Then comes the start of free agency, which opens on July 1.

While Washington would still likely trade Grubauer in this scenario, they would at least be able to get something for him.