June 15, 2017 11:29 am
Updated: June 17, 2017 8:06 pm

A guide to the first NHL expansion draft in 17 years: How the Vegas Golden Knights will pick players

WATCH ABOVE: The NHL expansion draft is finally here. Las Vegas will finally know which names to stitch on the back of its golden knights sweaters. But will the team be a hit? Mike Drolet reports.

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Conditions were different when the NHL last held an expansion draft 17 years ago.

Unlike the upcoming draft, which features only the newly added Vegas Golden Knights, the NHL was injecting two teams in 2000 when the Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild both came aboard.

FILE – In this Nov. 22, 2016, file photo, people tour T-Mobile Arena during an event to unveil the name of Las Vegas’ National Hockey League franchise, in Las Vegas.

AP Photo/John Locher, File

There was no salary cap to consider then and two of the league’s 28 teams — the Nashville Predators and Atlanta Thrashers — had their entire rosters protected from selection after having only recently joined via expansion themselves. Fifty-two players were picked with each team losing two players.

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How will conditions look for the latest edition? Here are a few things to consider:

KEY POINTS FOR ROSTER PROTECTION

1. Clubs have the choice of protecting seven forwards, three defencemen and one goaltender OR eight skaters and one goaltender — meaning they can’t be selected by Vegas.

A protection list for the Ottawa Senators could look as follows:

Forwards (7): Mike Hoffman, Mark Stone, Kyle Turris, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Derick Brassard, Zack Smith, Clarke MacArthur

Defence (3): Dion Phaneuf, Erik Karlsson, Cody Ceci

Goaltender (1): Craig Anderson

In this example, the Golden Knights could choose one player from the likes of Bobby Ryan, Marc Methot, or Mark Borowiecki.

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Unlike the last go-around when the salary cap didn’t exist, protection today means considering contracts and their value. Ryan was terrific for the Sens during their unlikely playoff run, but given his pricey contract — which has five more years with a US$7.25 million cap hit — Ottawa can probably afford to expose him and not risk his loss to Vegas.

Protecting more than three defencemen, meanwhile, means exposing two extra players to Vegas — a reality some teams will be unable to avoid.

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Take Anaheim as an example.

The Ducks will almost certainly opt to keep eight skaters and one goalie, a route which allows them to protect at least four defencemen along with forwards Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler — each of whom have no-move clauses and must be protected (more on that later). Kevin Bieksa also has a no-move clause and must be protected meaning the Ducks final choice would come down to either a fifth defenceman or one of two promising forwards: Jakob Silfverberg or Rickard Rakell.

Their protection list could look as follows:

Skaters: Perry, Getzlaf, Kesler, Bieksa, Rakell, Cam Fowler, Hampus Lindholm, Josh Manson

Goalie: John Gibson

Potentially exposed: Sami Vatanen, Silfverberg, Patrick Eaves, Simon Despres

2. Players with no-movement clauses must be protected. Teams were able to request a player waive his clause starting Monday; the deadline for a decision is Friday at 5 p.m. ET. Phaneuf, as an example, reportedly declined to waive and must be protected by Ottawa.

3. First and second year pros as well as unsigned draft choices don’t need to be protected and are not available to be picked by Vegas. That means young stars like Connor McDavid, Patrik Laine and Auston Matthews do not require protection.

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REQUIREMENTS FOR EXPOSURE

1. All clubs, at minimum, must expose:

i) One defenceman who a) is under contract for the coming season b) and played in 40 games this past season or 70 or more games in the previous two seasons.

ii) Two forwards who a) are under contract for the coming season b) and played in 40 games this past season or 70 or more games in the previous two seasons.

(The New York Rangers signed depth forward and former Senator Matt Puempel to a new deal on Wednesday with this stipulation likely in mind.)

iii) One goaltender who is under contract for the coming season or a pending restricted free agent.

2. Players with career-threatening injuries (who have missed the previous 60 or more consecutive games) may not be used for exposure requirements unless they’ve received approval from the NHL.

REQUIREMENTS FOR VEGAS

The Golden Knights must select one and only one player from all 30 teams for a minimum of 14 forwards, nine defenceman, and three goaltenders. At least 20 players must be under contract for the 2017-18 season and the Knights must reach a combined cap hit of at least $43.8 million.

Vegas can also sign any free agents (unrestricted or restricted) left unprotected from June 18-20.

FILE – In this April 13, 2017, file photo, Vegas Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant is flanked by Bill Foley, left, owner of the Vegas Golden Knights, and George McPhee, Vegas Golden Knights general manager, in Las Vegas. Vegas Golden Knights general manager George McPhee certainly wouldn’t mind some Lady Luck to rub off on his NHL expansion franchise when it comes to how the balls drop in the league’s draft lottery on Saturday.

AP Photo/John Locher, File

KEY DATES/DEADLINES

June 17

—Deadline for all 30 teams to submit their protection lists to the NHL and NHLPA (5 p.m.)

June 18

—Protection lists distributed to all 31 teams (including Vegas), NHLPA and the public (10 a.m.)

June 21

—Deadline for Golden Knights to submit their 30 selections to the NHL and NHLPA (10 a.m.)

—Selections revealed during the NHL awards ceremony in Vegas (8 p.m.)

The first ever game for Vegas Golden Knights will take place on the road against the Vancouver Canucks on Sept. 17. The roster of the Golden Knights will be revealed on June 21 during the NHL Awards.

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