(Source: Deadspin) Teams can opt to protect either

  1. One goalie, seven forwards, and three defensemen; or
  2. One goalie and eight skaters of any stripe.

Additionally, first- and second-year pros will be exempt. (This means professionals of any kind, so the clock started ticking when they got their first minor league paycheck.) If there is one new expansion team, existing teams risk losing one player; if there are two, they could lose up to two.

Let’s have a little fun and assume that the NHL is going to expand to Las Vegas for the 2017-2018 season and there is going to be an expansion draft.  With the guidelines that were laid out the other day, and listed above, I would like to play the game of who I think the Bruins should protect next summer.

As of now, based on the two options I would take option 2 (1 goalie and 8 skaters).  Option 2 (1 goalie, 3 defensemen and 7 forwards) would allow the Bruins to protect 2 more players, but personally I do not think the Bruins have 3 defensemen that are worth protecting, so that is why I am selecting option 2.

For this exercise I am protecting players like it is the 2017 offseason.  I am also assuming that Loui Eriksson will not be resigned this offseason.

So without further ado here are the 9 players BostonPucks.com would protect:

  1. Patrice Bergeron
  2. David Pastrnak
  3. Brad Marchand
  4. Frank Vatrano
  5. Matt Beleskey
  6. David Krejci
  7. Tuukka Rask
  8. Torey Krug
  9. Ryan Spooner

Let me explain my choices

Obviously, I picked Vatrano and Pastrnak, but both of these players will be past 2 years of pro hockey, so it is a no brainer to protect those two.  Other no brainers are Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.  Frank Vatrano, David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand are the only players that I would put in the the “you have to absolutely protect” category.

Matt Beleskey, David Krejci and Tuukka Rask are in the next tier of players, but not of the same importance as the first four, and I could see the Bruins not protecting one of them if there is a younger, better option that develops over the next year.

Torey Krug and Ryan Spooner are both young players, so I protected them, but we do not know what the status of their contracts will be next summer.  Spooner will be a Restricted Free Agent.  Krug will be a Restricted Free Agent this summer.  I could see both of these players not being protected, but due to their age I think it is a must.

The Omissions and Notes

After next season if the expansion team wants to take either Zdeno Chara or Dennis Seidenberg off the Bruins hands they will be doing the Bruins a favor.  I am not sure if either of these players will be on the Bruins by the expansion draft, but if I were the Bruins I would not protect them.  One thing that I have not seen about the expansion draft is if players with no movement clauses will be able to be picked, which both Chara and Seidenberg have.

We also do not know how some of the younger defensemen will develop over the next calendar year.  Maybe Colin Miller and Joe Morrow live up to expectations and then maybe the Bruins would pick option 1 (One goalie, seven forwards, and three defensemen) if that is the case.

Also, next year Malcolm Subban will need to clear waivers to be sent down to Providence since he will have completed his Entry Level Contract this year.  If Malcolm is Tuukka’s backup next year and plays well would the Bruins protect Malcolm instead of Tuukka?  Either way Malcolm could be available in an expansion draft because after next year he will have 4 years of pro experience.  Also, Zane McIntyre will have completed 2 pro seasons by the expansion draft, so he could be available to an expansion team.

Next season with the expansion draft looming it could heat up the trade market because teams might want to trade the players they do not plan to protect, so they get compensation for them instead of losing them for nothing.  Also, teams might use the expansion draft as a salary dump.  It will allow them to potentially clear over paid players from their salary cap.  If the team in Las Vegas is willing to spend up to the cap, or close to it, they could put together a competitive team which it is believed to be the NHL’s plan.

Like the source article from Deadspin said the Expansion Draft would be a lot of fun.  Stay tuned fans.