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 Florida Panthers:
Protect (7-3-1): Aleksander Barkov, Sam Bennett, Anthony Duclair, Jonathan Huberdeau (NMC), Mason Marchment, Carter Verhaeghe, Lucas Wallmark, Aaron Ekblad, Gustav Forsling, Mackenzie Weegar, Sergei Bobrovsky (NMC)
Exempt: Grigori Denisenko, Nikita Gusev, Aleksi Heponiemi, Eetu Luostarinen, Matt Kierstad, Owen Tippett
UFA: Brandon Montour, Alex Wennberg, Chris Driedger
Expose: Noel Acciari, Kevin Connauton, Radko Gudas, Patric Hornqvist, Juho Lammikko, Ryan Lomberg, Markus Nutivaara, Anton Stralman, Frank Vatrano, Samuel Montembeault
The Panthers' one tough call is do you protect aging (but effective) forward Hornqvist, or do you expose him and hope Seattle passes. In this case, Wallmark and Bennett are protected instead.
The defense became more clear-cut with the re-signing of Forsling and Florida's buyout of Keith Yandle. Ekblad and Weegar are obvious choices.
Bobrovsky has to be protected with his no-movement clause, leaving no other choice. Driedger is rumored to be a candidate for Seattle, but that could be via free agency - not expansion selection.