NHL Rumor Mill – March 8, 2017
A look at several notable players who could be exposed in this June’s expansion draft and more in your NHL rumor mill.
TSN: Frank Seravalli and Craig Button recently looked at the players that might be available in June’s NHL expansion draft. They first revisited the key rules of the draft. Teams can protect either seven forwards, three defensemen and a goalie or eight skaters (four forwards and four defensemen) and a goalie, players with no-movement clause must be protected, and players with less than three years of pro experience are exempt.
They then examined which players from the seven Canadian teams could be exposed in the draft. Among the notables the Toronto Maple Leafs could expose are defensemen Alexey Marchenko and Martin Marincin and forwards Eric Fehr and Ben Smith. Tomas Plekanec, Jordie Benn, Alexei Emelin and Al Montoya could be left unprotected by the Montreal Canadiens.
The Ottawa Senators could exposed wingers Bobby Ryan and recently-acquired Alex Burrows, defenseman Marc Methot and goalie Andrew Hammond. For the Edmonton Oilers, forwards Zach Kassian, Benoit Pouliot, Matt Hendricks and defenseman Mark Fayne could be unprotected.
For the Winnipeg Jets, they could opt for the eight skater protection because of their depth on the blueline. Forwards Mathieu Perreault, Shawn Matthias and Marko Dano and goalie Michael Hutchinson could be available. The Vancouver Canucks could expose defenseman Luca Sbisa and forward Derek Dorsett. The Calgary Flames could expose forwards Matt Stajan, Alex Chiasson and Lance Bouma.
As for the rest of the league, Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (provided he waives his no-movement clause), Wild winger Jason Zucker, Anaheim Ducks winger Jakob Silfverberg and Washington Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov could be among the best available players.
Seravalli speculates Minnesota Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher could be talking with Vegas Golden Knights GM George McPhee to work out a trade whereby the Wild will give up an asset to Vegas in order to protect a defenseman such as Jonas Brodin or Marco Scandella.
Button doubts Silfverberg will be available and Fleury must waive his no-movement clause. He speculates the Penguins netminder could end up traded to a club of his choosing before the expansion draft.
ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun recently reported Golden Knights GM George McPhee could take part in trade discussions with his colleagues during this week’s meeting of NHL general managers in Boca Raton, Florida. McPhee admitted he’s had some talks with several clubs, but isn’t in a rush to make any deals in advance. “We’d rather see the entire universe of who’s available and who’s protected before we make a lot of decisions,” he said.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadian teams are in good shape for the expansion draft. It doesn’t appear any of them risk losing a key player.
Bear in mind that just because players such as Bobby Ryan or Tomas Plekanec might be exposed doesn’t mean they’ll be selected by Vegas. Ryan carries a big contract and hasn’t played up to expectations in Ottawa, while Plekanec is in his mid-thirties and his best seasons are behind him. The only real concern for the Jets is losing Perreault, who’s an oft-injured but versatile forward.
Of the other notables around the league, I agree with Button that Silfverberg probably won’t be available by the time the Golden Knights make their selections. Like the Wild, the Ducks could work out a side deal with Vegas to ensure he gets passed over by the Golden Knights, possibly by trading them a defenseman.
Fleury could be dealt or bought out prior to the draft. It’s also possible he could waive his NMC to make himself available in the draft, but he might not be keen to join an expansion team.