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 Boston Bruins:
Protect (7-3-1): Patrice Bergeron (NMC), Charlie Coyle (NMC), Karson Kuhlman, Brad Marchand (NMC), David Pastrnak, Nick Ritchie, Craig Smith, Brandon Carlo, Matt Grzelcyk, Charlie McAvoy, Dan Vladar
Exempt: Jack Ahcan, Jack Studnicka, Urho Vaakanainen, Jeremy Swayman
UFA: Taylor Hall, David Krejci, Sean Kuraly, Mike Reilly, Jarred Tinordi, Jaroslav Halak, Tuukka Rask
Expose: Anton Blidh, Connor Clifton, Jake DeBrusk, Trent Frederic, Jeremy Lauzon, Curtis Lazar, John Moore, Zach Senyshyn, Chris Wagner, Jakub Zboril
Boston has a lot of talent under contract, so the decisions here were a little tougher than the previous two. Kuhlman earned the last protection spot at forward, based off of his play (albeit in a smaller sample), his age, and his contract. Lazar carries a better overall projected GDV, but his role can be replaced easily and he doesn't have Kuhlman's upside. DeBrusk is perhaps the biggest name exposed, which is really more a product of how good the Bruins are compared to his actual value.
The defense came down to one of Carlo, Lauzon, and Zboril. With Carlo just signing an extension, it reinforced the idea of protecting him due to his edge on penalty kill and in the defensive zone.
With Rask and Halak both pending UFAs, Vladar is the easy choice here. He can pair with Swayman next season to form a formidable one-two punch if Rask does not re-sign.