The 2021 NHL expansion draft for the league's 32nd team, the Seattle Kraken, is scheduled for Wednesday night, and the other franchises revealed their protected lists Sunday morning.
The Boston Bruins' protected list doesn't include any major surprises. The toughest decision was probably the last forward to protect, and the B's have chosen Jake DeBrusk over Nick Ritchie.
Here's the list for the Bruins:
Patrice Bergeron, C
Brad Marchand, LW
David Pastrnak, RW
Charlie Coyle, C
Craig Smith, RW
Jake DeBrusk, LW
Trent Frederic, C
Here are the best Bruins players available to be selected by the Kraken:
- Curtis Lazar, C
- Chris Wagner, C/RW
- Nick Ritchie, LW (RFA)
- Ondrej Kase, RW (RFA)
- Karson Kuhlman, RW
- Connor Clifton, D
- Jeremy Lauzon, D
- Jakub Zboril, D
The Kraken also could sign one of the Bruins' unrestricted free agents (David Krejci, Taylor Hall, etc.) before the expansion draft. If one of those UFAs is signed, he would count as the Kraken's player selected from the Bruins.
Players with no-movement clauses in their contracts had to be protected (Bergeron, Marchand, Coyle) unless those players agreed to waive them for the expansion draft.
DeBrusk likely has more trade value than Ritchie and is signed for a manageable $3.675 million salary cap hit this coming season before hitting restricted free agency in 2022. Ritchie is an RFA this summer.
Vladar was the only goalie the Bruins needed to protect. Jeremy Swayman wasn't eligible for protection and Tuukka Rask didn't need to be protected because he's an unrestricted free agent.
So, who will the Kraken take?
Ritchie is the best forward of the group, and Clifton is the best among the defensemen. Clifton has the most upside based on his age, talent, contract, position and future upside. The Kraken should take Clifton. Hopefully for the Bruins, they don't.