The Seattle Kraken, who will join the NHL as an expansion team next season, have begun scouting the Avalanche for the Expansion Draft.
Kraken pro scout Stu Barnes was at both Avalanche-Vegas games this week and was busily writing notes the whole time. The Avalanche will have to surrender one player to the Kraken when the Expansion Draft is held July 21.
Teams can protect seven forwards and three defensemen, or teams can protect any combination of eight skaters. Teams must protect players with no-movement clauses in their contracts, unless the player elects to waive the clause. They do not have to protect players with only no-trade clauses. All first- and second-year NHL players, and all unsigned draft choices are exempt from the draft. They do not count toward a team’s protected list. Of a team’s defensemen exposed, at least one must be under contract in 2021-22 and have played at least 40 NHL games the prior season, or played in at least 70 NHL games in the prior two seasons.
Players with potential career-ending injuries who have missed more than the previous 60 consecutive games may be exempt from being selected with league approval.
Teams usually do the 7-3-1 (including a goalie) protection list, though I personally believe the Avs might be better suited doing the eight skater list. You can only lose one player. I’ll get into more expansion-list stuff in the off-season, but I just really would hate to lose a Ryan Graves to expansion, if you only protect three defensemen. I expect the Avs to do the 7-3-1 thing, but if that’s the case I think you can probably kiss Graves goodbye.
The seven forwards I’d protect? Tough question. Probably MacK, Rantanen, Landy, Kadri, Burakovsky, Nichushkin and Donskoi. That would expose Jost and Compher and Saad. If the Avs want Saad back and could re-sign him, then I probably protect Saad over Donskoi. The Avs are going to lose a good player no matter what. That’s life.
The Golden Knights, by the way, don’t have to expose anyone in the Expansion Draft. It was a nice little perk they got from the NHL when they came into the league a few years ago.