Welcome back to our Seattle Expansion Draft Series. If you haven’t read the first article that lays out the rules of the expansion draft, that would be a good starting point, as I’ll only give the very basic rules in each of these follow up articles. If you are interested in Detroit, that was the second article.
I’m going to add this next part to the rules article, but since many people reading this have already read that article, I want to make sure people understand how unsigned RFAs work because it’s pretty important.
Seattle will have a window of time between when the expansion draft protected lists are finalized and when the expansion draft takes place in which they can sign not only unprotected UFAs, but also unprotected RFAs. The current team CANNOT MATCH. It’s not like an offer sheet.
Starting with this article, I’m going to take a look at either one or two other NHL teams each week. My goal is to get some input from people who cover the team because let’s face it, I don’t have the knowledge of each NHL team to be able to give you the best idea of what to expect. So let’s get started with Anaheim!
I thought this would be an easy call, and I was right. It’s John Gibson. Hernandez says he’s playing well even though he’s not getting much defensive support. This would mean that Anthony Stolarz would satisfy the exposure requirement
Like most teams, Anaheim has some easy calls on defense. Cam Fowler and Hampus Lindholm are obviously going to be protected. Hernandez thinks the last spot will come down to Josh Manson and Kevin Shattenkirk, with Manson being the likeliest to be protected at this point. He says “Shattenkirk has been underperforming more,” and that the Ducks would likely rather keep Josh Manson. Each is making just around $4M. Whichever one is not protected will meet the exposure requirement.
We had been chatting for just over a minute to cover the first four protections listed above. The call ended up being just over ten minutes, so it’s clear that Anaheim’s forward protections are in flux. Hernandez says many of the forwards are players who could be traded, as the Ducks are clear sellers this season. “Bob Murray is open to trading a lot of these guys,” he said.
Ryan Getzlaf is a UFA after this season. Hernandez says he’ll likely come back because “he wants to finish his career in Anaheim.” Because of that, there’s no reason to use a slot on him.
Jacob Silfverberg gets the first slot, assuming he’s not traded (that’s going to be a caveat on many of these selections, so I’ll just say it once). Troy Terry is an easy pick based on how he’s been playing. Isaac Lundestrom “has to be protected at all costs.”
Sam Steel’s ELC is expiring, and Hernandez says he’s in the same boat as Lundestrom, an easy choice. Based on name recognition and my fuzzy knowledge of the Ducks, I thought Danton Heinen would be a player to protect, but apparently he’s been healthy scratched this season and been on their taxi squad, so Hernandez thinks they’ll expose him. His advanced stats look good relative to the rest of the team, so we’ll see if that’s something that changes.
Rickard Rakell is another player who may be traded, but we’re including him for now. Max Jones is another young player that Seattle could sign to an RFA deal if left unprotected.
For now, the last slot is going to Sonny Milano. Hernandez had it down to him or Heinen. Of the two, Heinen looks statistically much better to me this season, but for now I’ll go with the person who follow the team.
Adam Henrique, Derek Grant, and Nicholas Deslauriers meet the exposure requirement, so Anaheim even has an extra player in that regard.
Every team could change a lot between now and in July when the protected lists are due. It sounds like Anaheim’s choices are very much up in the air, so it’ll be an interesting team to follow.
Notable Unprotected Players
I thought this was an easy call, and according to Pavlock, I was right! He describes Darcy Keumper’s play as “lights out.” While Antti Raanta has had streaks of very good play in his career, he’s “frequently injured and the team and fanbase has lost faith in him.”
On the defensive end, Arizona has two easy calls. Oliver Ekman-Larsson has to be protected because of his no movement clause, although he would be protected anyway. Jakob Chychrun is also obviously a player who will be protected. After that, Arizona’s last protection spot is up in the air at this point. The rest of the defensemen they could protect are all on expiring contracts except for Kyle Capobianco, who is signed through 21-22.
Keeping in mind that there is a ways to go before decisions have to be made, Pavlock says “I can see the team extending Jordan Oesterle and Ilya Lyubushkin and exposing one of them (the other would be protected).”
Phil Kessel has a no movement clause, so as of now, he has to be protected. Pavlock says that there is a chance he could waive it depending on what happens with Arizona coach Rick Tocchet. If Arizona parts ways with Tocchet, he says that Kessel could be looking to leave since he “came for Tocchet.”
Clayton Keller is a no-brainer. Pavlock says Nick Schmaltz and Christian Dvorak are definitely getting protected.
The next two spots will go to Tyler Pitlick and Johan Larsson, leaving one spot open. Pavlock sees Lawson Crouse and Christian Fisher as the two players who would meet the exposure requirements for Arizona. For the time being, I’m going to take Pavlock’s advice and pencil in Conor Garland. He will need a new contract, but Pavlock thinks that could happen sooner rather than later. He currently leads all Arizona forwards in Standing Points Above Replacement per 60, and if Arizona doesn’t extend him and protect him, Seattle could sign him during the short window before the expansion draft.
Current Predicted Protections
Notable Unprotected Players
Lawson Crouse and Christian Fisher? I guess?