More speculation over possible expansion draft scenarios in today’s NHL rumor mill. 

Pondering Some Expansion Draft Scenarios.

NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien compiled a collection of opinions from several hockey pundits over how a possible expansion draft next June could affect several NHL teams:

ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun reported each existing club could lose either a No. 4 or No. 5 defenseman, or a No. 6 or No. 7 forward or a goaltender.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We also don’t know yet what the rules will be regarding players carrying no-movement clauses. It’s widely assumed they won’t be exposed to the draft because they cannot pass through waivers. However, it’s unclear if they’ll be exempt (like players with two years or less on their entry-level contracts) or if a team must still list them as protected. And will there be a limit for each existing club? For example, if a team has three players with no-movement clauses, perhaps only two of them will be exempt from the draft.  

A potential NHL expansion draft could make it difficult for the Rangers to retain Derick Brassard and Derek Stepan.

A potential NHL expansion draft could make it difficult for the Rangers to retain Derick Brassard and Derek Stepan.

 General Fanager lists only 66 players carrying no-movement clauses for 2016-17. As the expansion draft is expected to take place next June, those no-movement clauses remain valid through June 30, 2017. 

The New York Post’s Larry Brooks wonders what steps the New York Rangers could face to retain centers Derek Stepan and Derick Brassard, He also notes the rule forcing teams to expose at least 25 percent of its cap payroll could force the Rangers to retain winger Rick Nash and his $7.8 million cap hit for next season, regardless of whether it makes sense from a hockey perspective to shop him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brooks’ point about the 25 percent rule’s effect upon the Rangers will also have ramifications for other NHL clubs. It could also affect next season’s NHL trade market, starting perhaps as early as this summer. There could be consequences for this summer’s crop of restricted free agents, especially those eligible to receive no-movement clauses in their new contracts starting in 2016-17.  

 

The Globe and Mail’s James Mirtle points out the potential roster chaos an expansion draft could have upon a talented club like the Chicago Blackhawks, speculating such notables as Marian Hossa, Andrew Ladd (if he’s re-signed), Andrew Shaw and Artem Anisimov could be left unprotected. He also wonders if the Washington Capitals could risk losing forwards T.J. Oshie or Marcus Johansson or if the the Pittsburgh Penguins could face the tough choice of protecting either veteran goalie Marc-Andre Fleury or promising Matt Murray.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Deeper rosters of existing NHL teams will feel the effects. If players carrying no-movement clauses are declared exempt, Hossa won’t be exposed in the draft. If they can be left unprotected, leaving Hossa exposed could be a means for the Blackhawks of freeing up some much-needed cap space if an expansion team selected him. Other cap-strapped clubs could do the same. 

Oshie is eligible for UFA status next summer. The Capitals could leave him unprotected, gambling that an expansion team won’t waste a draft selection on a player who could depart within days via free agency. They could also re-sign Johansson to a one-year deal, making him eligible for UFA status next July and thus unattractive to an expansion team. 

The Penguins could indeed face a difficult choice between Fleury and Murray. However, if players carrying no-movement clauses are exempt from the draft, Fleury won’t be available and the Penguins could then protect Murray. 

StarTribune.com’s Michael Russo notes the Minnesota Wild’s blueline corps could be affected. Assuming Ryan Suter will be protected, they’ll have to protect two among Jonas Brodin, Matt Dumba, Gustav Olofsson, Marco Scandella and Jared Spurgeon. That’s assuming none are traded before the expansion draft and promising Mike Reilly is exempt because he’s a two-year pro.