This morning, after an unnecessary 30 minute delay from their original scheduled announcement, the NHL announced the protection lists for all 30 teams. The lists can be found here.
The Columbus Blue Jackets protected the following:
F Nick Foligno
F Brandon Dubinsky
F Scott Hartnell
F Brandon Saad
F Alexander Wennberg
F Cam Atkinson
F Boone Jenner
D Seth Jones
D David Savard
D Ryan Murray
G Sergei Bobrovsky
The following Jackets would therefore be eligible for selection (all first and second year players, like Zach Werenski or Oliver BJORKSTRAND, are exempt):
F Josh Anderson (RFA)
F William Karlsson
F Matt Calvert
F Lukas Sedlak
F Zac Dalpe
F Sam Gagner (UFA)
F TJ Tynan (UFA)
F Lauri Korpikoski (UFA)
F Brett Gallant (UFA)
F Alex Broadhurst (RFA)
D Jack Johnson
D Scott Harrington
D John Ramage
D Marc-Andre Bergeron (UFA)
D Jaime Sifers (UFA)
D Ryan Stanton (UFA)
D Kyle Quincey (UFA)
G Joonas Korpisalo
G Anton Forsberg (RFA)
G Oscar Dansk (RFA)
Vegas must submit their selections to the league by 10 a.m. ET on Wednesday, and those selections will be revealed throughout the NHL Awards Show that evening. Vegas will select one player from each team. Complete rules can be found here.
From now until Thursday, all NHL rosters are frozen, with Vegas having an exclusive window to negotiate with free agents and NHL teams. It is being reported that Vegas GM George McPhee will be aggressive in making deals. Some teams will make a trade to protect certain exposed players, while others will make trades for other teams’ exposed players.
To the end, Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch reported Saturday morning on a potential trade with Vegas:
Sources around the NHL have indicated to The Dispatch that the Blue Jackets have reached agreement with the Vegas Golden Knights on a trade that will be announced during the expansion draft Wednesday in Las Vegas. With this trade the Blue Jackets will pay dearly to dissuade the Golden Knights from taking Anderson, Korpisalo or one of the veteran defensemen — Jack Johnson or David Savard — that they would have exposed.
The Jackets are believed to be trading this year’s first-round draft pick (No. 24 overall) and a prospect (not Pierre-Luc Dubois or Sonny Milano) to Vegas for assurances that the Golden Knights will select either left wing Matt Calvert, center William Karlsson or defenseman Ryan Murray.
Vegas’ acquisition of the contract of injured veteran forward David Clarkson ($5.25 million salary cap hit) may also be part of the deal.
Some on Twitter feel that Columbus is overpaying to keep Anderson and Korpisalo. I think those two are the clear best players exposed by Columbus, so I can understand that Vegas can charge a premium to pick someone else.
Porty’s speculation that Murray would be exposed turned out to be wrong. That being said, perhaps the Jackets will work out a deal to protect Johnson so they can keep their second pairing intact
Who will Vegas pick? I would rank them this way:
- William Karlsson - Wild Bill has been streaky but he’s a young center with lots of PK experience.
- Jack Johnson - For Vegas, Johnson provides a high cap hit and veteran leadership. He’s coming off his best season in years. The downside is he’s 30 and has just one year remaining on his contract.
- Matt Calvert - Calvert is a fourth line player, but would provide veteran leadership for what should be a young Golden Knights team. His hustle could make him a fan favorite in Vegas like he has been in Columbus. Drawbacks for Vegas would be his team low CF% and only one year remaining on his contract.
If one of those players is chosen AND the Clarkson contract is traded, that will free up anywhere from $6.25M to $9.6M of extra cap space going into free agency.
Brace yourselves, Fifth Line. The next week is going to be crazy.