The Flyers, like every NHL team aside from the Golden Knights, are soon to lose a player to the Kraken in the expansion draft. Seattle is set to build its first-ever roster as the NHL's newest club in the 2021-22 season.
On Saturday by 5 p.m. ET, Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher and company had to submit the list of players the team will protect from Seattle's picking. On Sunday at 10 a.m. ET, the NHL's central registry will distribute each protection list to the Kraken and other clubs. The Flyers' protection list will be released around that time Sunday.
Starting Saturday at 3 p.m. ET, an NHL trade and waiver freeze went into effect. It will be lifted Thursday at 1 p.m. ET. Within that time period, teams can only make deals with Seattle.
The Flyers made a big trade just prior to the deadline. On Saturday afternoon, they acquired Ryan Ellis in exchange for Philippe Myers and Nolan Patrick.
Before we get into predicting the Flyers' protection list, here are the essentials for the expansion draft:
- When: Wednesday, July 21, 8 p.m. ET
- Where: Seattle
- Broadcast: ESPN2
- Live stream: ESPN.com
The Flyers can either protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie or eight skaters (with a combination of four or more defensemen) and one goalie.
If the club goes with the seven-forward, three-defensemen plan, which is most probable, here's our prediction for the Flyers' protection list.
- Sean Couturier
- Claude Giroux
- Kevin Hayes
- Travis Konecny
- Scott Laughton
- Oskar Lindblom
- James van Riemsdyk
The Flyers do not need to protect Joel Farabee because the 21-year-old winger is exempt as a two-year pro.
Giroux and Hayes require protection because they have no-movement clauses in their contracts. They would have been protected anyway. Couturier, Konecny and Laughton are surefire protections.
It's all but certain Jakub Voracek will be left exposed. He's one of the older Flyers with term and a large cap hit. He was also tied with Giroux and van Riemsdyk for the 2020-21 team lead in scoring (43 points). This would be a business decision about cap relief in a critical offseason amid a flat-cap world. Voracek turns 32 years old in August and is under contract for the next three seasons at an annual $8.25 million cap hit. Voracek, a decade Flyer with a precarious situation this summer, is one of the bigger storylines to the club's offseason.
With the trade of Patrick, the Flyers now have a much more logical opportunity to protect van Riemsdyk, who is 32 and under contract for the next two seasons at an annual $7 million cap hit. If left exposed, van Riemsdyk would be highly appealing to the Dave Hakstol-led Kraken for various reasons, which we detailed here.
There's an outside chance Seattle takes Nicolas Aube-Kubel, but he did not play much under Hakstol, seeing only 5:35 minutes per night over a nine-game stint in 2018-19.
- Ryan Ellis
- Ivan Provorov
- Travis Sanheim
The Flyers' decisions on defense don't look hazy. Provorov and Ellis are obvious protections, while Sanheim has shown his potential and is still young when it comes to a player reaching one's ceiling. He's big, mobile and has too much upside to lose for nothing.
Shayne Gostisbehere, who was drafted by the club and has played six full seasons in Philadelphia, very well could be the most intriguing to the Kraken among the Flyers' blueliners likely to be exposed. We detailed that all here, along with who could be the biggest loss on the back end.
- Carter Hart
A clear-cut, no-brainer here.
This story, originally published July 16, was updated July 18 following the Ellis trade. For the Flyers' protected list, which was released today, click here.
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