During their last day of meetings Wednesday in Boca Raton, Fla., NHL general managers were provided with the framework of how an NHL expansion draft would work if the league decides to expand from its current 30 teams to either 31 or 32 franchises.
As of now, Quebec and Las Vegas appear to be the two most likely destinations for new NHL teams, possibly as soon as the 2017-18 season. If one team is selected each current NHL team would lose no more than one player from its roster in an expansion draft. If two teams are added, each current team would lose no more than two players.
In an expansion draft each existing NHL team could protect 11 players on its roster, including one goaltender. First- and second-year pros would not have to be made available and unsigned draft choices would also be exempt.
"As we have said all along, we wouldn't expand before the (2017-18) season, which means if we are going to expand for '17-'18 we've got to do something by June at the latest for '17-'18,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters. “But there is no requirement to adhere to any timetable, let alone that one."
The NHL has not expanded since 2000, when the Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets entered the league.
So, for the sake of argument, let’s assume two new franchises are awarded for the 2017-18 season and there is an NHL expansion draft that June.
Here is a list of players that could be on the Capitals’ roster 15 months from now. Which 11 players from this eligible list would you protect if you were general manager? It’s not as easy as you’d think.
Justin Williams (UFA after next season)
T.J. Oshie (UFA after next season)
Jason Chimera (UFA after this season)
Mike Richards (UFA after this season)
Marcus Johansson (RFA after this season)
Tom Wilson (RFA after this season)
Evgeny Kuznetsov (RFA after next season)
Andre Burakovsky (RFA after next season)
Stan Galiev (RFA after next season)
Chandler Stephenson ((RFA after next season)
Nathan Walker (RFA after next season)
Liam O’Brien (RFA after next season)
Dmitry Orlov (RFA after this season)
Karl Alzner (RFA after next season)
Nate Schmidt (RFA after next season)
Philipp Grubauer (RFA after next season)
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