As the dust from the 2020 offseason clears, the 2021 picture gets clearer. As the NY Rangers prepare for the upcoming season, the front office is preparing for the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft. Before the pair of two year deals for Ryan Strome and Brendan Lemieux, signs pointed to one of Brett Howden or Libor Hajek being expansion draft bait. Things have changed slightly.
The Protected List
The protected list so far is relatively easy for the Rangers. They can protect seven forwards, three defensemen, and a goalie. It’s the list you’d expect to see.
- Forwards (5): Artemi Panarin, Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad, Pavel Buchnevich, Filip Chytil
- Defense (3): Jacob Trouba, Tony DeAngelo, Ryan Lindgren
- Goalies (1): Alex Georgiev
The Exempt List
These are the guys who are, for the most part, on their first or second years of their ELCs. There’s some nuance to it, but these kids are not exposed and do not need to be protected.
- Forwards (7): Kaapo Kakko, Alexis Lafreniere, Morgan Barron, Vitali Kravtsov, Patrick Khodorenko, Justin Richards, Austin Rueschhoff
- Defense (4): Adam Fox, K’Andre Miller, Tarmo Reunanen, Yegor Rykov
- Goalies (3): Igor Shesterkin, Tyler Wall, Adam Huska
Just a note – I might be wrong on Rykov and Huska. I think they are exempt.
The good news is that between the protected list and the exempt list, most of the important guys who are here or the long haul are protected. The Rangers also have two more forward slots open for protection.
This is where the Rangers have a few decisions left to make. As it stands, the Rangers will only be able to protect two of Lemieux, Strome, and Howden, and Julien Gauthier. How that quarter plays this season will have a lasting impact on whether or not the Rangers protect them.
There is always a possibility of a trade to ensure Seattle doesn’t take a specific player. However that scenario only plays out if the Rangers deem three of those guys as worth protecting. That again will be determined almost entirely by how they play this season. Credit needs to go to the front office here. The NY Rangers are in a good spot for the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft. They won’t be losing a key piece, which is all we can ask for.