When exploring the trade deadline possibilities, the Rangers should naturally be looking for the best deals available. In division trades shouldn’t matter too much if a team in the Metro can give the best package for a rental. But one thing that is potentially getting overlooked here is the looming expansion draft in 2020.
Seattle has officially begun the expansion process, submitting their bid to the NHL to be the 32nd, and hopefully final, NHL team. If/When that bid is accepted, the club will fork over $640 in expansion fees to the league’s 31 owners –something that won’t be shared with the players, which is just on them for terrible negotiating skills– and then the expansion draft process will begin. All signs point to the same process as with Vegas.
With those same rules in place, it means that first and second year pros are going to be exempt. Any young NHL player the Rangers acquire during this year’s expansion draft will need to be protected at the expansion draft. Assuming the same 7-3-1 format, things could get a little dicey.
As an aside, this might be the reason why we don’t see Filip Chytil or Lias Andersson until next season. Their North American “pro years” don’t start until their ELC contracts stop sliding. It’s a weird loophole, but if it means they don’t need to be protected, then I’m all for it.
Looking at some of the potential deals we’ve already spoken about, the Rangers might be in for some difficult decisions if they don’t plan properly. Using Boston/McDonagh as an example, any roster player they acquire (we discussed Matt Grzelcyk, Danton Heinen, Brandon Carlo, and Jake DeBrusk) would need to be protected. Double the trouble if it’s a pair of roster players.
It’s probably a good problem to have, but it’s something that Jeff Gorton will need to navigate as he strikes deals at the deadline. This might be less of a concern for the pure rentals like Rick Nash, where the going price rarely includes young players off the NHL roster.
This all gets thrown to the wayside if the NHL tinkers with the rules, like expanding the “pro years” to international hockey as well. But there isn’t anything the club can do now to prepare for those changes. That said, Gorton would be wise to keep a keen eye on who he might be forced to expose in 2020. It shouldn’t be the main driver in a trade, but it should be something he is cognizant of."Expansion draft in 2020 impacts Rangers' trade deadline decisions, and more",