It’s time to look at the next bunch of lovable losers in the NHL playoffs. These four lost in the conference finals, with a wide range of emotions. The Oilers were happy to get that far while the Capitals were furious to get bounced by the Penguins for the second year in a row. Today, Mike, Kyle, Joe and Carl let you know who will be chosen to be protected and left unprotected for the Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers, St. Louis Blues and Washington Capitals. Previous teams can be found here:
Rules and regulations for the expansion draft can be found on NHL.com
Edmonton Oilers (Mike)
The Oilers’ first visit to the playoffs since 2006 came to a premature end at the gloves of the Anaheim Ducks. Well, Ryan Getzlaf. But Edmonton fans have a lot to be proud of, and even more to be excited about moving forward. Fortunately Connor McDavid is exempt, which is handy as the whole team is essentially built around him. To that end, I’ve protected his linemates. The Oilers’ strength lies in its offence so I’ve also saved the second and third lines from being reshuffled by Vegas. The Unprotected list is much shorter than other teams because a lot of the roster are set to become UFAs at end of the season. The front office will need to decide where to spend the money as they prepare for 2017/18.
|Jordan Eberle||Benoit Pouliot||Connor McDavid|
|Milan Lucic||Anton Lander||Anton Slepyshev|
|Ryan Nugent-Hopkins||Iiro Pakarinen||Jesse Puljujarvi|
|Mark Letestu||Laurent Brossoit||Drake Caggiula|
|Patrick Maroon||Patrick Russell|
|Zack Kassian||Matthew Benning|
New York Rangers (Kyle)
Another season has ended early for the New York Rangers. “The King” is still without a Stanley Cup and hard decisions loom. Heading into the off season with the expansion draft right around the corner, the choices made by the front office might not be as cut and dry as many would think. Past contracts may handcuff the New York Rangers and this could cause young talent to go unprotected. If the Rangers could swing a trade of a veteran defenceman it would make things much more manageable, unfortunately the multiple NMC’s on this roster will make that easier said than done. It’s real possibility Vegas will get one of its nicest pieces from the Rangers roster and unless something big happens there is nothing they can do about it.
St. Louis Blues (Joe)
The St. Louis Blues are in the boat they’re in every year, knocked out in the first or second round. At least this year they were able to claim that it wasn’t at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks. Losing their second round series to the Nashville Predators in six games won’t be easy for this team to swallow either, with changes already coming in their coaching staff including Ray Bennett, Steve Thomas, Rick Wilson and Goaltending development coach Ty Conklin. This will truly allow the Mike Yeo era to begin in St. Louis and next season we will see if that is enough. They first need to get through the expansion draft though.
|Vladimir Tarasenko||Ryan Reaves||Robby Fabbri|
|Paul Stastny||Dmitrij Jaskin||Ivan Barbashev|
|Alex Steen||Kyle Brodziak||Conner Bleackley|
|Jaden Schwartz||Robert Bortuzzo|
|Jori Lehtera||Jay Bouwmeester|
|David Perron||Carter Hutton|
Washington Capitals (Carl)
Questions abound when it comes to the offseason in Washington. Frustration levels were high after their second round exit to the Pittsburgh Penguins, and it’s hard to think that the front office will be content coming back with more of the same lineup next year. Fortunately, they’ll be forced to make some adjustments with several free agents. Which also means that there are limited options when it comes to who to leave unprotected. Most of the tough decisions come on the back end, with the likes of Carlson, Niskanen, Orpik, Orlov and Schmidt filling the current slots. Expect one of these defensemen to end up in Las Vegas.
|Alex Ovechkin||Jay Beagle||Jakub Vrana|
|Nicklas Backstrom||Brett Connolly|
|Andre Burakovsky||Brooks Orpik|
|Evgeny Kuznetsov||Nate Schmidt|
|Lars Eller||Christian Djoos|
|Marcus Johansson||Philipp Grubauer|