If there is one thing that is guaranteed in the summer of 2020, it’s that the NHL will have a lockout. Also an expansion draft. Definitely the expansion draft. Let’s stick with that. There’s already been some talk about who the Rangers will be able to protect from Seattle, and while a lot will change between now and then, it’s August, so let’s take a very premature look at what could transpire.
For the sake of this exercise, let’s assume the rules are the same. Teams can protect 7F/3D/1G, or 4F/4D/1G. Players with no move clauses must be protected, but players with no trade clauses –without a no move clause– can be exposed (Rick Nash had a NTC and a NMC, thus had to be protected). For the the sake of my sanity, any player entering his third year of his ELC is exempt.
Let’s look at who is exempt, and there’s a long list:
- All 2018 draftees
- All 2017 draftees. Yes, this includes Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil. Both of their contracts slid a year, thus they are exempt (I think).
- Igor Shestyorkin, Tyler Wall, Adam Huska, Ryan Lindgren, Libor Hajek, Brett Howden, Tim Gettinger, Ty Ronning, and Sean Day are all exempt.
What makes this challenging for the Rangers right now is that they only have six players signed through that 2020-2021: Henrik Lundqvist (NMC), Mika Zibanejad (NMC starting in 2019), Kevin Shattenkirk (NMC), Marc Staal (NMC), Brady Skjei, and Brendan Smith (NTC).
Based on the above, the Rangers will need to protect that entire list, save for Smith. That takes care of your three defensemen (Shattenkirk, Staal, Skjei) and your goalie. Zibanejad takes up one of the seven slots for forwards.
For argument’s sake, let’s assume Chris Kreider and Pavel Buchnevich are re-signed and protected. Let’s assume one of Vlad Namestnikov/Ryan Spooner also get the same treatment. And for the sake of the post, Jesper Fast sticks around as well. That’s five forwards, enough room for a few trades without worrying about protection status.
The defense looks ugly. But I think it’s a fair guess that Staal gets bought out before the expansion draft, much like Dan Girardi. That leaves one extra slot for Tony DeAngelo or Neal Pionk, should one of them play well enough for protection.
This leaves the exposed list, as of today, comprising the following:
- Goalies: Alex Georgiev, Brandon Halverson, Chris Nell
- Defense: Brendan Smith, one of DeAngelo/Pionk, Brandon Crawley, Vince Pedrie, John Gilmour
- Forwards: Vinni Lettieri, Ryan Gropp, Ville Meskanen, Michael Lindqvist, Boo Nieves, Steven Fogarty, Gabriel Fontaine
That is quite the unimpressive list of exposed players. The “biggest” name here is Georgiev, whom the Hank haters are already calling the future starter. First off, the future is Shestyorkin. Second, Georgiev would be an Oscar Lindberg-esque loss. It would sting, but it wouldn’t impact the long-term plans for the club.
Of course, this is all said on August 20, 2018, almost two years before the lockout. Sorry. Expansion draft. I need to stop doing that."Looking ahead to the 2020 locko.....errr.....expansion draft",