NHL Reveals Protection Lists Before Expansion Draft

Those were some of the more well-known names exposed by teams for the highly anticipated expansion draft, which will see the Las Vegas Golden Knights selected one player from each of the other 30 National Hockey League rosters.

The Tampa Bay Lightning and 29 other teams revealed what players they chose to protect and leave unexposed in the upcoming expansion draft. On their protection list, which was submitted to the league Saturday, Washington included forwards Alex Ovechkin, Nick Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Andre Burakovsky, Marcus Johansson, Lars Eller, Tom Wilson as well as defensemen John Carlson, Matt Niskanen and Dmitry Orlov and goaltender Braden Holtby.

As one NHL general manager said over the weekend, Vegas Golden Knights manager George McPhee is simultaneously both the most hated and popular GM in the league right now.

Key among those rumors and assumptions was that the Anaheim Ducks and Golden Knights have a deal in place that involves Sami Vatanen.

The Minnesota Wild exposed forward Eric Staal and defensemen Marco Scandella and Matt Dumba.

The new franchise has the next 72 hours to select its expansion draft choices.

There's also a wealth of proven goaltenders available given that teams were required to expose at least one. Teams could only protect 10 skaters at most, and some elected to protect eight (with four defenseman).

Under that line of thinking, Jori Lehtera is a player many Blues fans would like to see claimed by Vegas, as his performance has rarely lived up to expectations set by his rookie season and hefty contract. The inaugural roster will be revealed during Wednesday night's NHL Awards show inside T-Mobile Arena just off the Strip. This means that Panarin does not have to be protected since he can not be selected by Vegas.

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The Islanders for one, reportedly have a deal in place that would send Vegas a first-round pick in order to pass on exposed forwards like Josh Bailey, Shane Prince, Brock Nelson and Ryan Strome. They have one unrestricted free agent - Scottie Upshall - and three restricted free agents (Parayko, Paajarvi and Nail Yakupov). As we're sure to find out over the coming days, turning McPhee's eyes off of a top prize and onto a second- or third-best player could be costly with payment coming in the form of picks and prospects.

"Vegas doesn't need 10", said Chayka after making a proactive move to free up the Coyotes' protected list by trading veteran goalie Mike Smith to Calgary.

Francis didn't say what his plans might be, saying, "We'll just see where we are and what happens" in the expansion draft.

"There's a lot of unprotected goalies out there", Chayka said.

Just two years ago, the Senators got a first-round pick from Buffalo for goaltender Robin Lehner, Boston a first-round pick from San Jose for Martin Jones and NY second- and third-round picks from Edmonton for Cam Talbot. However, the 23-year-old had a minus-five rating, and he does not have the defensive game that is likely to satisfy head coach Claude Julien.

Everyone knew that the NHL Expansion Draft was going to be interesting.

The Winnipeg Jets solved an expansion issue even as they didn't make a trade as Toby Enstrom agreed to waive his no-movement clause before the deadline Friday, allowing them to protect their other three top defensemen: Dustin Byfuglien, Jacob Trouba and Tyler Myers.

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