The Seattle Kraken expansion draft, slated for next year, is sure to give Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin a headache.
In June 2017, when providing a protective list to the Vegas Golden Knights, the Habs even had the opportunity to protect defenseman Jordie Benn. However, with the recent acquisitions of CH, the task promises to be much more perilous.
On the blue line, the Canadian currently has four particularly attractive defenders for Seattle: Shea Weber, Jeff Petry, Ben Chiarot and Joel Edmundson. Only three of them are at risk of being able to be protected.
In fact, the situation raises an important question: which formula will be favored by the Canadian? The one which, as in 2017, would allow him to protect 11 players (7 attackers, 3 defenders and a goalkeeper) or the one limited to only eight players (attackers / defenders) and a goalkeeper? Only seven of 30 clubs chose this second option in the Golden Knights expansion draft.
Should CH follow suit with the second option in 2021, Weber, Petry, Chiarot and Edmundson would be sure to stay with the Canadiens, but the team could only protect four forwards. Fortunately, young defender Alexander Romanov will be exempted from the expansion draft with less than two years of experience.
In a dead end
Among forwards, while Nick Suzuki enjoys an exemption like Romanov, Jesperi Kotkaniemi no longer does. Obviously, Brendan Gallagher is an untouchable, especially since he has a no-move clause, which automatically qualifies him. Then come Josh Anderson, Tyler Toffoli without forgetting Jonathan Drouin … In short, it is already the impasse, and the name of Phillip Danault, who could conclude a contract extension with the Canadian in the next year, does not even not yet been mentioned.
To add to the puzzle, an expansion draft rule states that each team must expose a minimum of two forwards with a valid contract in 2021-22. They must also have played a minimum of 40 games in the previous season or 70 games in the two most recent campaigns. Paul Byron should logically meet those criteria, but several of the Canadiens’s current players, including Joel Armia and Jordan Weal, still need a contract extension to qualify.
In net, it’s settled: Carey Price is the perfect man to be protected, as he also has a no-move clause in his contract. Newcomer Jake Allen should be available for the Kraken if needed.
An agreement with Seattle?
Barring any surprise, the Canadiens should protect a total of 11 players, under the 7-3-1 formula. After losing the services of defender Alexei Emelin to the Golden Knights, however, it will be interesting to see the player the CH has to give to the Kraken as a welcome gift. Does a choice necessarily arise between Chiarot and Edmundson?
In 2017, it’s important to remember that the Golden Knights made a number of deals with teams on the sidelines of the expansion draft, allowing several clubs to avoid losing some elements.
For example, in order to ensure that the Las Vegas roster picks goaltender Marc-André Fleury, the Pittsburgh Penguins gave the Golden Knights a second-round pick for the 2020 draft. Florida Panthers traded forward Reilly Smith to Vegas for a fourth-round pick. As a result, the Golden Knights pledged to draft Jonathan Marchessault during the expansion.
Such a ploy could be used by Bergevin to protect seven attackers, while avoiding losing the services of Chiarot or Edmundson.
Here’s the full list of players protected by the Canadiens in the Vegas Golden Knights expansion draft in 2017:
- Max Pacioretty
- Paul Byron
- Jonathan drouin
- Phillip danault
- Brendan Gallagher
- Alex Galchenyuk
- Andrew Shaw
- Jordie benn
- Jeff Petry
- Shea weber