Today, we’re looking at the Eastern Conference teams eliminated in round one of the playoffs. Click here and here to read about the teams that couldn’t even make it that far. While the Western conference surprised with which teams were knocked out, the east has been somewhat less exciting. Pittsburgh, Washington, Ottawa and New York all advanced while the Boston, Montreal, Toronto and Columbus all exited. Those latter four teams are the four we’ll be looking at, saving Joel’s Maple Leafs (the best) for last.
Rules and regulations for the expansion draft can be found on NHL.com
Boston Bruins (Mike)
After last season’s heartbreak at missing the playoffs; the Bruins looked capable of a decent cup run this year. That was before the Ottawa Senators dropped the team in six games. A few of Boston’s big names are already tied up with some cast-iron contracts but there are still some decisions to be made. My Red Wings bias wanted to leave leading goalscorer Brad Marchand unprotected so the Golden Knights would take away a key part of Boston’s offence, but that would never fly.
Columbus Blue Jackets (Joe)
The Blue Jackets did the unthinkable: they won 16 straight games. Sadly for the Blue Jackets and their fans; it ended in early January instead of early June. The only team to have a longer winning streak is the team that bounced the Jackets from the playoffs in the Pittsburgh Penguins. That being said the Blue Jackets won’t lose one of their core young pieces and may give them a chance to reset on contracts that they may regret.
|Brandon Dubinsky||Matt Calvert||Pierre-Luc Dubois|
|Nick Foligno||Lukas Sedlak||Sonny Milano|
|Scott Hartnell||William Karlsson||Zach Werenski|
|Brandon Saad||Jack Johnson||Paul Bittner|
Montreal Canadiens (Mike)
The Habs made some questionable acquisitions in the off-season, by bolstering their ranks with … ahem… experienced players, the team looked like Canada’s best chance for playoff success. The New York Rangers put paid to that plan in six games. Now the Canadiens have to decide which of their many stars to leave unprotected. There are a number of blueliners on this team who may find themselves on the second list, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Golden Knights poach one of them.
Toronto Maple Leafs (Joel)
There are only two or three decisions that need to be made by the Leafs for the expansion draft. It comes down to deciding between the veterans (Komarov, Martin and Fehr) or the kids (Rychel, Leivo and Leipsic). Keeping young, cheap, controllable talent as role players will be important down the road when they have to start paying Matthews, Marner and Nylander. Leaving Uncle Leo and Matt Martin unprotected might not be the most popular decision right now for the fan base but is the smart move for the bright future.