While the Nashville Predators and the Pittsburgh Penguins battle it out for hockey’s biggest prize, the majority of the NHL have been focusing on their offseason plans for this summer. As many of you know, this offseason will be very different. With the Vegas Golden Knights entering the league, the NHL with be holding an Expansion Draft for the new franchise. As the expansion draft process will be beginning in less than 2 weeks from now, it is time to take a look at the Montreal Canadiens expansion draft plans.
This mini-series will consist of 3 different parts; What you need to know, Who the Habs should protect, and which players might get selected. Each article will be released around 5 days after the previous one. With that being said, here is part 1 of the series, and everything you need to know about the Montreal Canadiens and the expansion draft.
General Rules and Important Information
First off, all NHL teams must submit a list with players who they wish to be exempt from being selected. Each team will have two different options for the players they choose to protect. They can choose between protecting 7 forwards, 3 defensemen, and 1 goalie, or 4 forwards, 4 defensemen, and 1 goalie. Teams will also need to meet some requirements regarding who they want to protect, and who they want to leave unprotected. These rules are as follows:
- 2 forwards who are under contract in 2017-18 AND have played in 40+ NHL games the prior season OR played in 70+ NHL games in the prior 2 seasons
- 1 defenseman who is under contract for 2017-18 AND has played in 40+ NHL games the prior season OR played in 70+ NHL games in the prior 2 seasons
- 1 goalie who is under contract in 2017-18
The Habs are currently meeting all of these requirements, and have nothing to worry about regarding these rules barring any moves before the expansion draft.
There are also many rules regarding who needs to be protected and who does not, but I will get into these rules in future paragraphs.
The Vegas Golden Knights will then be able to select one unprotected player from each team in the NHL, giving them a total of 30 players. Of these 30 men, 14 must be forwards, 9 must be defensemen, and 3 must be goalies. Additionally, at least 20 of these players must be under contract for the 2017-18 season. Finally, the players selected in the expansion draft must have a total salary cap of at least $43,800,000, and no more than $73,000,000.
- June 17, 5 pm EST: Expansion Draft Protected List Submissions
- June 18, 10 am EST: Expansion Draft Protected Lists Released To Public
- June 18-21: Vegas can negotiate with and sign UFAs and Unprotected RFA’s
- June 21, 10 am EST: Vegas Submits Player Selections
- June 21: Vegas Golden Knights Team Revealed To Public at NHL Awards Ceremony
Players Who Do Not Need To Be Protected And Are Exempt From Being Selected
There are two reasons in which a player is exempt from selection:
- Any player who has played in 2 or less professional seasons by the end of the 2016-17 season
- Any unsigned draft picks appearing on the team’s reserve list
These players include:
- Artturi Lehkonen
- Mike McCarron
- Charlie Lindgren
- Andreas Martinsen
- Jakub Jerabek
- Mikhail Sergachev
- Nikita Scherbak
- Antoine Waked
- Jeremiah Addison
- Martin Reway
- Daniel Audette
- Markus Eisenschmid
- Jeremy Gregoire
- Mark MacMillan
- Noah Juulsen
- Victor Mete
- Simon Bourque
- Brett Lernout
- Ryan Johnston
- Joel Hanley
- Tom Parisi
- Michael McNiven
- Zachary Fucale
There are several notable names on this list that have either played in the NHL or may play in the NHL next year such as Artturi Lehkonen, Mike McCarron, Charlie Lindgren, Andreas Martinsen, Jakub Jerabek, Mikhail Sergachev, and Nikita Scherbak. The Habs are fortunate they do not have to protect these players, allowing for less notable names to be exposed in the draft.
Who MUST Be Protected
Any player who currently has a No Movement Clause must be protected by their respective teams. If a player is willing to waive his no-movement clause, he no longer needs to be protected. There are only two players on the Habs with a no-movement clause; Carey Price and Jeff Petry.
Overall, this does not affect Montreal in the slightest. Both Price and Petry would have been locks to be protected even if they were not required to be. The Habs should be very thankful that they do not have to protect a player they do not want to. For example, the Anaheim Ducks. They are required to protect Kevin Bieksa, meaning that they will be losing a very good player as either Josh Manson or Sami Vatanen will have to be exposed or traded.
Players Eligible For Selection If Not Protected
This category is where all the remaining unmentioned players fall. These players are all eligible to be selected by Vegas if not protected by the Habs.
The list includes:
- Tomas Plekanec
- Max Pacioretty
- Alex Radulov (UFA)
- Alex Galchenyuk
- Andrew Shaw
- Brendan Gallagher
- Torrey Mitchell
- Paul Byron
- Phillip Danault
- Charles Hudon
- Daniel Carr
- Jacob De La Rose
- Chris Terry
- Dwight King (UFA)
- Connor Crisp
- Brian Flynn (UFA)
- Stefan Matteau
- Bobby Farnham (UFA)
- Shea Weber
- Alexei Emelin
- Andrei Markov (UFA)
- Nathan Beaulieu
- Brandon Davidson
- Jordie Benn
- Zach Redmond
- Dalton Thrower
- Keegan Lowe
- Nikita Nesterov
- Al Montoya
Unrestricted Free Agents
As you may have noticed in the list above, I have put (UFA) beside several names. This signifies which players are currently Unrestricted Free Agents. Of these players, Montreal will most likely only be re-signing both Alex Radulov and Andrei Markov. Although they are still eligible to be selected by Vegas, chances are they will be passed on by the Golden Knights. This is due to the fact that it is very risky signing UFAs. If they do not want to play for your team, they can simply walk and sign with the original team once the free agency window opens.
While Montreal will most likely take the chance and leave both Radulov and Markov unprotected, there is still a lot of strategy behind the decision.
Does Montreal risk losing these players? If they are selected, they will be able to have contract talks with Vegas for an extended period of time before the free agency window opens. Also, once these players do hit free agency, they may choose to not sign with Montreal but instead accept better deals from other teams around the league. Or, does Montreal re-sign one of or both of these players? Although they will be part of the Habs next year for sure, this also means Montreal will have to waste a protection spot on them. In the first option, the Habs will be able to keep more players. In the second option, Montreal will be able to keep the better players. Only time will tell which option Montreal will choose, but considering the draft is less than 2 weeks away and the players are still not signed, all signs point to them choosing the first root.
And that sums up the first part of this three-part miniseries. Stay tuned for the next article that will be up 5 days from now. Next time, (Seen Here) we will be looking at who the Habs should protect heading into next time. Feel free to drop a comment on any questions you have regarding the Expansion Draft. Go Habs Go!