The NHL released all 30 protection lists in advance of Wednesday’s Seattle expansion draft. Here is a look at who the Habs protected and who will be available to the Kraken.
The big surprises for the Canadiens were revealed before the list went public. The concern around Shea Weber’s playing future made it a safe bet that he’d be left unprotected and in doing so, it basically solidified the Habs using the 7/3/1 protection scheme instead of eight skaters and a goalie. The three defencemen getting protected would be the obvious – the other top-four blueliners on the team.
Up until Saturday, the expectation was that Jake Allen would be the goalie exposed if he hadn’t been traded to avoid the risk of him being the Kraken’s selection. But then word came out that Carey Price opted to waive his no-move clause, permitting him to be left unprotected in place of Allen.
With the Habs having so many pending unrestricted free agents on their roster, it certainly simplified how their forward configuration would look. One UFA would be protected in order to satisfy mandatory exposure requirements for players under contract and other than that, it was pretty straightforward. Montreal’s protected list is as follows:
Ben Chiarot, Joel Edmundson, Jeff Petry
Josh Anderson, Joel Armia (UFA), Jake Evans. Brendan Gallagher, Jesperi Kotkaniemi (RFA), Artturi Lehkonen (RFA), Tyler Toffoli
That means the list of unprotected players is as follows:
Charlie Lindgren (UFA), Michael McNiven (RFA), Carey Price
Cale Fleury (RFA), Erik Gustafsson (UFA), Brett Kulak, Jon Merrill (UFA), Gustaf Olofsson (UFA), Xavier Ouellet, Shea Weber
Brandon Baddock, Alex Belzile, Joseph Blandisi (RFA), Paul Byron, Phillip Danault (UFA), Laurent Dauphin, Jonathan Drouin, Michael Frolik (UFA), Charles Hudon (UFA), Corey Perry (UFA), Michael Pezzetta (RFA), Eric Staal (UFA), Tomas Tatar (UFA), Lukas Vejdemo, Jordan Weal (UFA)
Each team must expose at least two signed forwards and one signed defenceman who played in either 27 games this season or 54 over the last two combined. For the Habs, Byron and Drouin meet the criteria for the forwards and Kulak for the defencemen.
The expansion draft is set for Wednesday night and there is a transactions freeze in effect until then (technically Thursday morning). In the meantime, everyone has a few days to guess who the Habs will be losing.