In a fun swing of events, PuckLuck.com has you covered today for all of your expansion draft protection needs. Why today? Well, there are two key deadlines this Saturday afternoon that can affect the entire landscape of the NHL.
The first is a roster freeze at 3pm EST, which prohibits and trades, signings, and player movement ahead of Wednesday's expansion draft. This freeze allows the Seattle Kraken management to zero in on exact targets from each NHL team without any further ambiguity.
The second deadline, of course, is the 5pm EST deadline for all teams to submit their protected player lists. This is the final list of players (either seven forwards, three defensemen, and one goalie, or eight skaters and one goalie) that the Kraken cannot select in Wednesday's draft.
This also, of course, reveals who is exposed to Seattle, who is allow to select one player from each team. It is expected that side deals will by made to allow NHL GM's to protect an extra player or dictate who the Kraken take by giving up an additional asset, so things could get even more interesting.
Ahead of the protection list deadline, we will be revealing what our version of the protection lists should look like for each NHL team, based off of a player's GDV (Goal Differential Value), contract, and aging curves. GDV is a PuckLuck exclusive metric used to measure each player's value on goal differential for each game, allowing us to project each NHL game throughout the year with success.
We will be revealing one team every 15 minutes leading up to the 5pm deadline, so be sure to follow along throughout the day to see what we come up with for your favorite team!
Next up? The Arizona Coyotes:
Protect (7-3-1): Christian Dvorak, Christian Fischer, Conor Garland, Dryden Hunt, Clayton Keller, Phil Kessel (NMC), Nick Schmaltz, Jakob Chychrun, Oliver Ekman-Larsson (NMC), Ilya Lyubushkin, Darcy Kuemper
Exempt: Barret Hayton, Victor Soderstrom
UFA: Derick Brassard, Michael Bunting, Michael Chaput, Jason Demers, Alex Goligoski, Jordan Gross, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Jordan Oesterle, Antti Raanta
Expose: Lawson Crouse, John Hayden, Johan Larsson, Lane Pederson, Tyler Pitlick, Adin Hill
The forwards to protect here came down to the straight GDV numbers of Hunt and Fischer opposed to Larsson and Pitlick. Hunt outclasses the four at even strength, while Fischer posted the better numbers shorthanded as Larsson and Pitlick were crushed in big minutes. It's feasible to lean towards protecting Larsson here based off position value, but Fischer is younger and team-controlled for much longer. You can blame Kessel's no-movement clause for this one.
There's not much to ponder over with the defense here, as Ekman-Larsson's no-movement clause and the pending unrestricted free agents allow for a straightforward three options to protect.
Goaltending rendered a much more difficult decision, as Darcy Kuemper has performed extremely well over the last few seasons, but Adin Hill is much younger and could be the future of the franchise. Kuemper's numbers are too good to pass up, however, so he gets the nod.