Blackhawks' expansion draft protected list revealed

Ruben Hill
June 19, 2017

The Sabres released their expansion draft protected list Sunday morning.

Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury is one marquee player's who's not expected to receive any added protection from his team.

"This means that before the Golden Knights claim a player off a team's unprotected list", Vegas said via a statement issued Saturday, "McPhee and his staff are willing to negotiate deals so the other clubs do not lose a player they would otherwise like to keep".

Vatanen, who will miss the start of the season after having shoulder surgery, and Josh Manson were the odd men out in Anaheim, because the Ducks couldn't protect their all their talented core of defensemen. The fifth-year player, however, won't be ready for the start of the season after having surgery to fix a shoulder injury. Vegas' first team will be announced during the NHL Awards on Wednesday night.

FILE - In this April 13, 2017 file photo, Vegas Golden Knights general manager George McPhee attends a news conference in Las Vegas.

He emphasized that each team will be contacted and given the opportunity to have a say in protecting its roster. Those side deals won't be announced until Wednesday night, leaving nearly a full four days of pondering and guessing why Player A is exposed or why Player B was protected. Bjugstad led the team in points back in the 2013-2014 season, but has suffered several injuries since then, and fans have seen his production drop off significantly since signing a six-year, $24.6 million contract in December 2014.

The Montreal Canadiens recouped a third-round pick from the Buffalo Sabres for 24-year-old defenseman Nathan Beaulieu, who has a connection to Vegas coach Gerard Gallant and would've been left exposed in the expansion draft.

That's what Arizona Coyotes GM John Chayka was thinking after trading veteran goalie Mike Smith to Calgary on Saturday. Sure, he could sign a free agent July 1, or he could take advantage of this rare circumstance. Vegas must pick one player from each of the existing 30 teams, but there's only so much room on the roster next season even with some minor league prospects thrown in.

After months of speculating, guessing, and building our own rosters, we are all going to learn how right or, more likely, wrong we were about how National Hockey League general managers value certain players.

I know what I would do, and millions of other armchair GMs have their ideas, but what will the Stars do? Detroit's Petr Mrazek, once considered the top Red Wings goaltender, wasn't protected along with defenseman Xavier Ouellet, a second-round pick in 2011.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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