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 Nashville Predators:
Protect (7-3-1): Nick Cousins, Matt Duchene, Filip Forsberg, Calle Jarnkrok, Tanner Jeannot, Rem Pitlick, Yakov Trenin, Ryan Ellis, Dante Fabbro, Roman Josi (NMC), Juuse Saros
Exempt: Jeremy Davies, Mathieu Olivier, Eeli Tolvanen
UFA: Mikael Granlund, Erik Gudbranson, Erik Haula, Brad Richardson
Expose: Matt Benning, Mark Borowiecki, Alex Carrier, Mattias Ekholm, Rocco Grimaldi, Ben Harpur, Ryan Johansen, Luke Kunin, Michael McCarron, Colton Sissons
Nashville has a slew of forwards to expose, but with a team reshaping its direction, the protection list is shaded towards younger players like Pitlick, Trenin, and Jeannot and exposes the contract of Johansen. Kunin is probably the debatable choice here, but he is exposed due to a negative projected GDV per game and not offering much on special teams.
The defining exposure is on defense - Ekholm. Fabbro edges him out due to age and upside, but Ekholm has been solid for years and could easily appeal to Seattle.
With Pekka Rinne retiring that leaves Saros as the sole and obvious protection choice.