During every NHL season there are typically two major days to look to in terms of player movement: the opening day of free agency on July 1, and the trade deadline. You could also look to the NHL Entry Draft if you want, but when a team makes a trade during the draft, it’s more of a surprise than the other two days. This year is different though. There is another key date for fans of every NHL team to look forward to: the Expansion Draft.
The Expansion Draft will help construct the NHL’s 31st franchise in Las Vegas. Teams will lose players, potentially even key players. With the trade deadline now passed, rosters are set, and teams now know who they have to make decisions about before the Expansion Draft occurs in late June.
Over the next couple of weeks, NoVa Caps will look at the Expansion Draft in its entirety, including which players the Capitals should protect, who they should/could make available for the draft, if they should make trades before hand, etc.
The first aspect of the Expnsion Draft we will look at are the rules. For those familiar with the rules, you should read this anyways, because we have questions for you at the end of this article
Here are the rules for the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft.
Teams will have two ways to protect players from the draft:
- Seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender OR
- Eight skaters (forwards/defensemen) and one goaltender
If a player has a no-movement clause in their contract, they will be protected automatically AND will count as one of the protected players. If a team has a lot of players with NMC’s in their contracts, they will obviously have less spots to protect players. Luckily, the Capitals do not have any.
All first and second-year professionals will not be eligible to be picked in the Expansion Draft, as well as unsigned draft picks. All of the players under these conditions will also NOT count as protected players.
Rules for exposing a player to the draft:
- Teams must expose ONE defenseman and TWO forwards who are under contract for the 2017-18 season and have played in 40 or more NHL games the prior season, OR played in 70 or more NHL games in the prior two seasons.
- Teams must also expose a goalie who is either under contract for the ’17-18 season or a restricted free agent. If teams choose to expose a RFA goalie, that goalie must have received his qualifying offer before the team submits their protected list.
- Teams may not expose a player who has a “career-threatening” injury. A player who has missed 60 or more consecutive games would fall into this category. If a player has not missed 60 or more games but has been confirmed to have a potentially career-threatening injury would need approval from the NHL.
Selection rules for Las Vegas:
- The Golden Knights must select ONE player from each NHL team, a total of 30 players.
- They must select 14 forwards, nine defenseman, and three goaltenders. That obviously equals 26, so they will have some other options when those requirements are met.
- They have to select at least 20 players that are under contract for the 2017-18 season.
- Las Vegas may not buy out players until the following summer.
This rule from NHL.com states, “The Las Vegas franchise must select players with an aggregate Expansion Draft value that is between 60-100% of the prior season’s upper-limit for the salary cap.” **Note** It will take someone who is smarter than me to break down that rule, I apologize.
All teams must submit their protected lists by 5 P.M. ET, on Saturday, June 17th, .
Las Vegas must make their selections by 5 P.M. ET on June 20, and the announcement of the selections will be made on June 21st. So there you have it, the rules for the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft.
We all know the obvious players Caps fans will want to keep on the team. Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Braden Holtby, we all know the obvious names right?
Here’s the question I’m curious to know from Washington Capitals fans. Who would you expose? If a key player has to be selected, (which looks pretty likely) which player would you be OK with if they were picked?
Make sure to get your opinion heard. When we reconvene to discuss who the Capitals should protect, we’ll take your opinion into account. Leave a comment here, go to the NovaCaps Facebook page or you can find me on Twitter.