Expansion Speculation on the Bruins, Sabres & Stars – March 21, 2017
A look at the players who could be protected or exposed in the June expansion draft by the Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres and Dallas Stars.
BOSTON HERALD: Stephen Harris speculates the Boston Bruins could opt to protect seven forwards (“Patrice Bergeron (no-movement clause), David Krejci (NM), David Backes (NM), Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, Ryan Spooner and Matt Beleskey”), three defenseman ( “Zdeno Chara (NM), Torey Krug and Colin Miller”) and a goaltender (Tuukka Rask) in the June expansion draft.
Harris suggests the Bruins could still expose Beleskey. Colin Miller’s improvement, meanwhile, could leave Adam McQuaid or Kevan Miller exposed. Either guy could prove attractive to the Vegas Golden Knights. Harris also mused over the possibility of the Bruins asking Chara to waive his no-movement clause, but believes it “questionable at best” that he’ll agree to do so. The Bruins could also be unwilling to risk losing Chara.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: John Vogl recently did up his list of players the Buffalo Sabres could protect in the expansion draft. His protected forwards include Kyle Okposo, Ryan O’Reilly, Evander Kane, Marcus Foligno, Johan Larsson, Ennis and William Carrier. That leaves Zemgus Girgensons, Matt Moulson, Nicholas Deslauriers and Justin Kea available in the draft.
On defense, he’d protect Rasmus Ristolainen, Jake McCabe and Zach Bogosian, leaving Josh Gorges, Justin Falk and Brady Austin. In goal, Vogl anticipated the Sabres will protect Robin Lehner and expose Linus Ullmark. He also speculated the Golden Knights could choose Girgensons or Ullmark.
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Mike Heika recently looked at the players the Dallas Stars could protect in the expansion draft. Forwards Jamie Benn and Jason Spezza have no-movement clauses, while Tyler Seguin and Radek Faksa are “locks’ to be protected. He anticipated the Stars will protect Valeri Nichushkin, who’s currently playing in Russia. He guessed they’ll also protect Brett Ritchie and Antoine Roussel and speculated they could trade Cody Eakin or leave him unprotected.
On defense, John Klingberg and Esa Lindell will be protected, as could either Stephen Johns or Jamie Oleksiak. Dan Hamhuis would be left unprotected. Given his age (34) and with only a year left on his contract, the Golden Knights could pass on him. As for goaltenders Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi, Heika doubts the Golden Knights have interest in either guy.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As more clubs drop out of playoff contention in the coming weeks, expect the speculation over which players they will expose in the expansion draft to increase in the coming weeks. If the Bruins leave McQuaid unprotected, I expect the Golden Knights will be very interested in him. Same goes for Girgensons if the Sabres make him available in the draft. Johns and Oleksiak are big, young blueliners and either one could be tempting targets for the Golden Knights.