The Capitals have acquired center Tyler Graovac from the Wild in exchange for a 5th round pick in 2018, the team announced Wednesday night.

The move gives Washington a young depth forward. More important, it allows the Caps to protect center Lars Eller in the upcoming expansion draft.

Having appeared in 52 games last season and under contract ($625,000 cap hit) for 2017-18, Graovac, 24, meets the requirements for exposure in the draft, from which Las Vegas will chose one player from each existing club. 

Per expansion draft rules, teams must expose two forwards who are a) under contract next season and b) played in 40 or more NHL games last season or played in 70 or more NHL games the prior two seasons combined. 

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Prior to acquiring Graovac, Caps GM Brian MacLellan would have been forced to expose Eller and fourth line center Jay Beagle. Now MacLellan can expose Graovac while protecting Eller, the third line pivot for whom he traded two second round picks last summer.

Protected lists will be made public on Sunday morning. 

Graovac (6 foot 5, 212 pounds) is a right-shot fourth line center who amassed seven goals and two assists while averaging 9:50 of ice time for the Wild last season. In 26 AHL games for Iowa, he produced 10 goals and five assists.

 

The Brampton, Ontario native was picked by Minnesota in the seventh round of the 2011 draft.

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