Next season the NHL will become 101 years old. Luckily for those who like new teams, expansions and a bit of drama, we’ll get a new team. Unfortunately for GM’s and fans of all the other teams, it means their team will lose a player to the Vegas Golden Knights.

How does the expansion draft work?

Protected Lists
* Clubs will have two options for players they wish to protect in the Expansion Draft:

a) Seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender

b) Eight skaters (forwards/defensemen) and one goaltender

* All players who have currently effective and continuing “No Movement” clauses at the time of the Expansion Draft (and who to decline to waive such clauses) must be protected (and will be counted toward their club’s applicable protection limits).

* All first- and second-year professionals, as well as all unsigned draft choices, will be exempt from selection (and will not be counted toward their club’s applicable protection limits).

The NHL states that these are the options for all of the other 30 teams who have to expose players in this expansion draft. Each one of the 30 teams will have to choose either option A or option B. In addition to that, the teams HAVE TO protect players who have “no movement” clauses. Which means NTC or NMC clauses in their contracts. Therefore we will see teams either trying to get some players to waive their clauses, either for the sake of the expansion draft or for the sake of trading them away to atleast get something back. A third alternative would be to buy-out such a player.

There are more requirements for the 30 teams:

Player Exposure Requirements
* All Clubs must meet the following minimum requirements regarding players exposed for selection in the Expansion Draft:

i) One defenseman who is a) under contract in 2017-18 and b) played in 40 or more NHL games the prior season OR played in 70 or more NHL games in the prior two seasons.

ii) Two forwards who are a) under contract in 2017-18 and b) played in 40 or more NHL games the prior season OR played in 70 or more NHL games in the prior two seasons.

iii) One goaltender who is under contract in 2017-18 or will be a restricted free agent at the expiration of his current contract immediately prior to 2017-18. If the club elects to make a restricted free agent goaltender available in order to meet this requirement, that goaltender must have received his qualifying offer prior to the submission of the club’s protected list.

* Players with potential career-ending injuries who have missed more than the previous 60 consecutive games (or who otherwise have been confirmed to have a career-threatening injury) may not be used to satisfy a club’s player exposure requirements, unless approval is received from the NHL. Such players also may be deemed exempt from selection by the League.

These three points effectively mean that teams have to leave solid players with NHL-experience exposed. Which given that one can’t protect more than 9 or 11 players depending if one chose option A (7-3-1) or option B (8-1) shouldn’t be a problem regardless. However, it is put in place so teams couldn’t just trade away depth players and fill the spots with first or second year professionals to avoid having plenty of options for the Vegas-franchise to choose from.

Rules for the Vegas Golden Knights:

Regulations Relating to Expansion Franchise
* The Las Vegas franchise must select one player from each presently existing club for a total of 30 players (not including additional players who may be acquired as the result of violations of the Expansion Draft rules).

* The Las Vegas franchise must select the following number of players at each position: 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goaltenders.

* The Las Vegas franchise must select a minimum of 20 players who are under contract for the 2017-18 season.

* The Las Vegas franchise must select players with an aggregate Expansion Draft value that is between 60-100% of the prior season’s upper limit for the salary cap.

* The Las Vegas franchise may not buy out any of the players selected in the Expansion Draft earlier than the summer following its first season.

Obviously the Vegas-franchise got to stick to some rules as well. These are pretty standard and reasonable points, but what doesn’t say here and something that has been allowed by the NHL, is for all of the 30 teams to be able to negotiate with Vegas in terms of making a deal (trade) and control who Vegas drafts from their team.

To give some examples, the Nashville Predators could opt to go with option A (7-3-1) when they protect their players, and then make a trade deal with Vegas to not select Mattias Ekholm in the expansion draft (assuming they protect Josi, Subban, Ellis) and trade them an incentive to draft someone else.

Another example is the Anaheim Ducks who have five forwards with NMC-clauses (Getzlaf,Perry,Kesler,Cogliano,Vermette), which effectively means, unless they for an example are able to manage to get Vermette to waive his clause, they have to go with option A (7-3-1) as their protection list and leave a good defenseman exposed.

If they choose option B (8 skaters + goalie, which basically is 4-4-1). The Ducks would have to get Bieksa to waive his clause (or buy him out) to protect the four most important d-men and in addition to that most likely get Vermette to waive his clause to able to protect four forwards (Getzlaf,Perry,Kesler,Cogliano who all have clauses), which would leave Rakell and Silfverberg exposed.

A third example would be the Pittsburgh Penguins goalie-issue. To begin with fans thought Matt Murray would be protected as this is only his second season in the NHL. However, that’s not what the rule say. It states second year as a professional. This is Murray’s third season as a pro. Therefore he doesn’t pass as a second year professional and is not excempt from the expansion draft.

Which gives the Penguins some trouble as Marc-Andre Fleury has a NMC-clause. This means that at this time, they have to protect him and leave Murray exposed. Which means that they would have to try and make a deal with Vegas not to pick him (Not gonna happen…). The other option is to get Fleury to waive his NMC-clause to be able to protect Murray. That leaves Fleury exposed, and the same applies. Either hope for the best or make a deal with Vegas.

When is the draft?

The 30 NHL Clubs must submit their Protection List by 5:00 P.M. ET on Saturday, June 17, 2017. The Las Vegas team must submit their Expansion Draft Selections by 5:00 P.M. ET on June 20 and the announcement of their selections will be released on made on June 21.

Read all about the Expansion Draft Rules here:
Expansion rules by

We will come with our own expansion mock draft for the Las Vegas Golden Knights.