How a 2021 expansion draft puts the Rangers in a bad spot

Per Darren Dreger, the league is expected to announce the 32nd –and presumably final– NHL team. With the final team in Seattle, the league will go through an expansion draft, and it is expected that the expansion draft will follow the exact same rules that existed when Vegas entered the league. It makes sense, since those rules produced a Cup Final team. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

While I actually think the expansion draft rules are fair, it does put the Rangers in a bit of a predicament. For you see, the Rangers specifically held back both Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil last year, especially after they announced the rebuild, to ensure their contracts slid a year. With a sliding contract, the years lined up that both 2017 first rounders would be exempt from a 2020 NHL Expansion Draft. It was sound logic, and it almost worked out.

Now with the draft sliding to 2021, both Andersson and Chytil will have finished their third year of service, thus will no longer be exempt. This applies to Brett Howden as well. As the rosters stand today, all three players will need to be protected. The only two players signed through 2021 are Mika Zibanejad and Brady Skjei. Zibanejad will have a NMC, so he will need to be protected (that makes 4 forwards) and let’s assume Skjei will need to be protected (1 defenseman).

Looking at the forwards, it’s a safe assumption that Chris Kreider and Pavel Buchnevich will still be with the team. That’s already six forwards. It leaves one forward, two defensemen, and one goalie left to be protected. Or if the Rangers go eight skaters and one goalie, then just one more skater left to be protected. That will leave difficult decisions on the table for players like Jesper Fast, Jimmy Vesey, Vlad Namesnikov (if he’s still around), and Kevin Hayes (if he’s still around).

The good news it that the Rangers won’t need to protect Marc Staal, Kevin Shattenkirk, or Brendan Smith, as none will be under contract. So that leaves just Skjei, Tony DeAngelo, and Neal Pionk (and potentially Fredrik Claesson). Unless the Rangers acquire a defenseman that would need to be protected, the Rangers will not be at any risk of losing someone significant.

This is way too early to panic about the expansion draft, especially since we will have two full offseasons to prepare. There will be a lot of roster turnover between now and then, but the forwards mentioned will still likely be on the club. There’s still flexbility and some room to move assets around, but now the Rangers will need to protect three forwards they may not have needed to as early as six months ago. The club navigated the 2017 expansion draft just fine, so there’s reason to believe they will be fine for 2021 as well.

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24 thoughts on “How a 2021 expansion draft puts the Rangers in a bad spot

  • Dec 4, 2018 at 6:06 am

    I am hoping by then we have so many good players, we figure out how to make trades with the expansion club in order to protect the great young kids. What the roster will look like in 2 years is anyone’s guess anyway.

  • Dec 4, 2018 at 7:19 am

    An absolute nothingburger. Fast would need to be re-signed and 29 going on 30, plenty of bottom 6 ballast nobody will miss.

    Not even Buch is a gimme to be here, let alone protected.

    • Dec 4, 2018 at 11:52 am

      Dump!!!! Stop trying to fool the fanbase………And for beejeezus sake…..Can Hank waive his no trade? The poor guy will keep us afloat just enough to pick in the middle of the pack….We need a top 3 draft position…….And Hank deserves a ring…….

  • Dec 4, 2018 at 10:11 am

    We’re in a period of more than normal turnover now, so there’s no guarantee that anyone on the roster now will be there in 2021. With all the new draft picks, trades, kids in the minors or college coming up, I doubt that the roster will be even recognizable then.

  • Dec 4, 2018 at 11:24 am

    remember when everyone was freaking out bc the rangers exposed Oscar Lindberg? feels like a million years ago. simpler times 🙂

    • Dec 4, 2018 at 11:48 am

      The least of my worries…….Just send the vets packing…..I have said this a million times since the beginning of this season: You cannot rebuild and contend praying for an 8th seed or so……….This IMO is where this leadership gaffed….Hayes……Zucs……..and I will add the entire D minus Pionk and Classie Freddy C…….dump and I mean dump and make this a full blown rebuild………..Enough already………

      • Dec 4, 2018 at 12:01 pm

        You can’t have a winning culture by losing all the time — unless you want to emulate a team like the Oilers and their rebuild. The minute you give players an excuse for losing is the minute you’ve lost the cultural war. Guys like Fast, Vesey and Namestnikov will probably be gone, Kravstov will be playing in the Top 6 and Miller will be a Top 4 d’man — I feel relatively confident enough to say that.

        This isn’t a rebuild, it’s more like a big renovation/update that retains the character of the house.

        • Dec 4, 2018 at 12:52 pm

          We are going to be a mediocre team unless we spend money on some elite players. Kravstov, Miller, Chytil, Andersson – all nice players, not elite. Buy a stud forward and a stud defenseman, then we have a shot. We may still be so crappy in 2021 that we may beg Seattle to take players, just so we can start fresh.

          Our defense is pisspoor, and the system, while helping, cannot correct all the miscues. If we are not picking top 5, the pick will be another also-ran. NOBODY on the farm is a fulltime, legit NHL player. We are doomed I tell ya, DOOMED!

          • Dec 4, 2018 at 5:55 pm

            ^ That’s Funny!

          • Dec 4, 2018 at 6:28 pm

            Kravstov could easily be elite — how many KHL All-Stars are out there under the age of 19? He’s 18 and is scoring over half a point a game with very little support on a bad team. He has more than twice the number of points of any player under the age of 20 in the League and he’s still just 18. Every time you watch him play you see a kid that literally drives the play forward, against men … and Miller may be one the steals of the draft. As a true freshman he’s averaging almost a point a game while drawing all the TOP assignments defensively. Here’s a kid that hasn’t even played defense for more than 3 years. Re: Chytil, put him with Kravstov … as far as Andersson is concerned, ok I don’t think he has a shot at being elite, doesn’t mean he can’t turn into a damn good center on a Championship caliber team.

    • Dec 4, 2018 at 3:43 pm

      Losing Lindberg set up the mess that was the Rangers forward corps last season.

  • Dec 4, 2018 at 1:18 pm

    Oh come on. I know there are five days without Ranger hockey, but the next expansion draft? The Rangers did well last time precisely because they did not prepare for it. Other teams made deals with Vegas and the Knights made out like bandits.

    Here is what happens. You protect eleven players, there are a few more who are either first or second year guys or players with unreasonably high dollar contracts, In the end, you lose your 15th best player – a fourth line forward, a third pair defenseman or a backup goalie. It hurts a little, just like it hurts all of your rivals — and you move on.

    And if you have any idea who is going to be your 15th best player 2-1/2 years from now, ….

    The only consideration at all is to avoid NMCs. Oh, and the Rangers are ideally positioned because that is the last year of hank’s contract.

  • Dec 4, 2018 at 3:11 pm

    Of the guys mentioned I’d put buch and lias as the question marks . buch … not sure he’s a Quinn guy, lias between now and then needs to show a lot more. Otherwise I can see them flipping him .

  • Dec 4, 2018 at 4:28 pm

    We will need to deal hope we can get a high end player

    • Dec 4, 2018 at 4:45 pm

      Most definitely need an elite player….

  • Dec 4, 2018 at 4:56 pm

    kravstov had a goal and assist today 17 pts on the season

    • Dec 4, 2018 at 6:33 pm

      Better trajectory than Kuz and Panarin.

      Something to be excited about, for sure.

      Miller killing it in Wisc too.

      • Dec 4, 2018 at 8:26 pm

        Man, K’Andre Miller just might be a beast. Kravstov is also only 18. Would be nice for them both to blossom.

        • Dec 5, 2018 at 6:24 am

          I loved the Miller pick Peter.

          • Dec 5, 2018 at 8:21 am

            As do I, and I expressed it at the draft day. This kid is big, strong, fast, skilled, devoted to his mom, and I love his character!!!!!!!!!!

        • Dec 6, 2018 at 1:25 am

          Hey guys don’t sleep on the other 1st rd pick either. Nils lunquist will be here before the other two. He also has been playing against men last 2years. This has to be a full on the fly rebuild. Trade Hayes and Zucc for assets and picks. It’s not about winning it’s about learning for the coach and kids. You bring in Jack Hughes or the other big forward who’s name escapes me. Along with the other young kids who are coming you have a supporting skilled cast. This wouldn’t be the Oilers because there would be skill at all levels. The Russian kid our goalie of the future would here to. The Oilers had to many holes and bad drafts and then tried to plug them in with bad trades and FA signings.We need that Superstar the time is now, Jack Hughes. Stay away from FA signings it will hurt the cap down the road. Also none of them would bring us the Cup.

  • Dec 4, 2018 at 5:14 pm

    There really are a lot of things that will need to shake out before the expansion draft comes around. I believe it is probably pretty early to speculate who will be protected and who will not be. I suspect the roster will be quite different by the time of the expansion dratt.

  • Dec 4, 2018 at 6:31 pm

    LOL, asking me today, I’m not too worried about losing anyone that can’t be protected.

    And don’t assume that Kreider will be here. I don’t think the Rangers want to pay his next contract, similar to Hayes. Especially with Skjei’s and Shatty’s contracts looking more and more like Staal’s contract instead of Zuc’s contract.

  • Dec 4, 2018 at 10:26 pm

    Well one think we do know…if Fast is expose in the draft there be no takers

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