One of the biggest storylines in the NHL is over something that isn't even officially happening yet: The expansion draft. Even though the NHL is still deciding whether to expand the league by one or two teams, the rules surrounding an expansion draft were reportedly agreed to by the NHL and NHLPA on Friday, according to Gary Lawless of TSN.
The basic format of the draft was already known with teams being able to protect a certain number of players on the roster. The biggest question was over whether players with no-movement or no-trade clauses in their contracts would have to be protected.
We now appear to have some clarity on that issue.
Lawless reports that players with no-movement clauses will be required to be protected by their teams while players with no-trade clauses are not exempt from the draft and can be left exposed if a team chooses.
A no-movement clause prevents players from being relocated involuntarily by trades, loans or waiver claims. A no-trade clause allows players to refuse a trade to either all teams or to a designated number of teams depending on the contract.
So what does this mean?
Teams will be allowed to protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie or eight skaters and a goalie, but those protections must first go to players with no-movement clauses active prior to July 1, 2017, assuming the expansion draft were to take place prior to the 2017-18 season. Teams are under no obligation to protect players with no-trade clauses and those players can be selected in the draft.
According to General Fanager, the Caps have eight players signed into the 2017-18 season: Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Jay Beagle, Matt Niskanen, Brooks Orpik, John Carlson, Taylor Chorney and Braden Holtby. Of those eight, none of them have no-movement clauses. Ovechkin, Backstrom, Niskanen and Holtby have no-trade clauses, but the Caps would not be obligated to protect any of them.
Obviously, the Caps will probably protect those four players anyway, but the point is that no one will simply be exempt from the expansion draft - all players must be specifically protected by their team.
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