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Blackhawks set their protected list for expansion draft

/ by Charlie Roumeliotis
Presented By Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich
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The Chicago Blackhawks have officially set their protection list for the Seattle Kraken expansion draft, which is set for Wednesday. The deadline to do so was Saturday at 4 p.m. CT.

The Blackhawks went with the seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender route over the eight skaters and one goaltender option.

Here’s a look at the list:

Forwards

1. Henrik Borgstrom 2. Alex DeBrincat 3. Brandon Hagel 4. David Kampf 5. Patrick Kane 6. Dylan Strome 7. Jonathan Toews

Defensemen

1. Caleb Jones 2. Connor Murphy 3. Riley Stillman

Goaltender

1. Kevin Lankinen

A few thoughts:

• The most notable forwards left unprotected were Ryan Carpenter, Brett Connolly and Adam Gaudette. No surprises here.

• Vinnie Hinostroza, who’s set to become an unrestricted free agent, was left unprotected, but that doesn’t necessarily mean both sides aren’t interested in a contract extension. Leaving him unprotected only means Seattle has an exclusive negotiating window with the 27-year-old forward before free agency officially opens on July 28 up for the other 31 teams.

• Kirby Dach, Dominik Kubalik, Philipp Kurashev and Pius Suter were among the forwards exempt from the expansion draft because they’re first- and second-year players. 

• The Blackhawks were loaded with first- and second-year defensemen that were also exempt from the draft: Nicolas Beaudin, Adam Boqvist, Wyatt Kalynuk, Ian Mitchell and Alec Regula.

• Alex Nylander was also exempt because he was considered a second-year player after missing the entire 2020-21 campaign with a knee injury. That essentially allowed the Blackhawks to protect a player like Kampf, who was the team’s best faceoff man and defensive specialist last season with Toews out.

 

• The back end is where things got interesting. The Blackhawks left Calvin de Haan and pending restricted free agent Nikita Zadorov unprotected, the former of whom has one year left on his contract that carries a $4.55 million cap hit.

If de Haan is plucked by Seattle, that leaves a gaping hole on the left side of Chicago’s blue line after already losing Duncan Keith to Edmonton via trade. Both of those players finished Top 4 in ice time among Blackhawks defensemen last season.

• The Blackhawks had no choice but to protect Jones, days after trading for the 24-year-old defenseman. He would’ve been an intriguing option for Seattle if left unprotected, and locking him into the roster could help play a role in the Seth Jones sweepstakes, whether that’s via trade this offseason or next summer when he’s an unrestricted free agent.

• Collin Delia and Malcolm Subban were the two goaltenders left exposed, which is no surprise. But the Blackhawks shouldn't be too worried about losing either of them. 

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