The Edmonton Oilers and the Expansion Draft

Peter Chiarelli3

Over the last few days, details have emerged about how an expansion draft would work for teams entering the NHL in 2017-18. It’s important to get these details ironed out now, so that general managers can enter this summer with an idea of how they need to structure their teams to protect key pieces.

The Details has the details on the potential expansion draft, which could be as early as the summer of 2017 in time for the 2017-18 season. Key points are as follows:

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  • Teams would be able to protect up to 11 skaters. It’s believed that clubs would be allowed to protect either a full set of 11 skaters with position requirements (7 forwards, 3 defencemen, 1 goalie) or a group of nine which would allow more protection for defencemen (8 skaters, 1 goalie).
  • Players in their first and second seasons of professional hockey would be exempt, as would unsigned draft picks.

That last point requires some clarification, which we get from TSN’s Darren Dreger (via the essential Chris Nichols):

Nylander played 37 games in the AHL in 2014-15, while Ehlers was a rookie pro in 2015-16. By the summer of 2017, Nylander would have completed his third year in pro hockey and would thus be eligible, while Ehlers would have finished his second and thus be protected.

ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun noted that there would also need to be a certain salary threshold exposed:

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Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman added another interesting point in this week’s 30 Thoughts column: no-move and no-trade clauses. It isn’t clear how those clauses would be treated in an expansion draft, but it’s a very good bet that the NHLPA would fight for at least no-move clauses to be exempt from expansion, meaning that those players would need to be included on a team’s protected list. No-trade clauses, as Friedman notes, are less likely to get the same protection.

So of we’re looking at the Oilers preparedness for an expansion draft in the summer of 2017, what would that look like?

Edmonton’s Protected List


We should start with ineligible players. It’s easy to apply that Nylander/Ehlers distinction above to Edmonton: it means that Connor McDavid would be exempt but that Leon Draisaitl would be eligible.

Exempt List:

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  • F – Connor McDavid
  • F – Anton Slepyshev
  • D – Darnell Nurse
(among others)


Protected List:

  • F – Taylor Hall
  • F – Leon Draisaitl
  • F – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
  • F – Jordan Eberle
  • F – Benoit Pouliot
  • F – Nail Yakupov
  • F – Patrick Maroon
  • D – Oscar Klefbom
  • D – Brandon Davidson
  • D – Andrej Sekera
  • G – Cam Talbot


This would expose some pretty interesting players to expansion team(s). Up front the list of players potentially exposed would include (among others) Zack Kassian, Jujhar Khaira, Bogdan Yakimov, Mark Letestu and Iiro Pakarinen. It’s not impossible to picture a scenario where taking dollars into account the Oilers decide to expose Pouliot and protect one of the younger players, though doing so would be unfortunate. Alternatively, Patrick Maroon could be exposed.


The real gems, though, are on defence and in net. Potentially exposed would be Griffin Reinhart, Laurent Brossoit, Mark Fayne, Eric Gryba, Jordan Oesterle and others. Again, it isn’t impossible to imagine a situation where taking salary into account Edmonton would expose Andrej Sekera (he has a no-trade clause, not a no-move clause strike that, he has a no-move clause) and protect Reinhart, though that’s a tough case to make. It’s more likely that Sekera would be exposed if the Oilers brought in a right-shot veteran this summer (someone like Travis Hamonic).

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A lot of those players would be appealing to an expansion club, particularly the younger ones. A lot could change in a year but Reinhart is the obvious target given his age in a single-team draft. Brossoit is appealing but there will be a flood of available goalies, so Kassian (or Pouliot) might be the next most attractive pick.


  • MorningOwl

    OK Oiler fans, let’s say the Oilers end up picking third in the upcoming draft…

    If you were the GM, would you take a trade with the Flames that saw Eberle and the 3rd overall pick go to Calgary for Dougie Hamilton?

    You trade away a 6m cap hit that may be part of the culture problem and get a very young stud defenseman that can grow with the young core locked up for 6 years… Flames get an overpriced project and two wingers… both teams get what they need

    • Spydyr

      Are you still drunk from St. Patrick’s day?

      I would not give Eberle alone for Hamilton and I’m not an Eberle fan,

      The third overall pick will be a much better player than Hamilton ever will be,

      • MorningOwl

        come one, take your blue goggles off for a moment, dougie is a top pairing Dman that is only 22… commanded top dollar while still developing with tons of upside yet to be tapped. 29 teams would snatch him in a heart beat. yes, his first dozen games were a gone show this year, but everyone knows he is a stud and will be for years.

        and Eberle – yes, he has skill, but also has a lot of baggage already (fairly or unfairly). Whether you like Dougie or not, you have yo know that Ebs alone won’t get a top pairing defenseman, and in fact his 6m cap hit is a road block for teams in a stagnant cap era where it has yet to be determined whether he can be salvaged into the player he had the potential to be.

  • @Hallsy4

    If it wasn’t the flames I’d give up a late first round. Not 3rd overall, especially with the big finns. They will be better than Douglas Hamilton in a couple years, and we can get D help elsewhere. He must still be drunk from St Patties I agree.

    • MorningOwl

      if it was so easy to get top end D somewhere else, why haven’t the Oilers done it? you’d rather drat and develop another forward when you get the chance to unload a question mark player with a hard to move contract for a proven talent that hasn’t even come close to his best years yet and will only get better? I mean, if it was Mathews, sure, but 3rd overall? what the heck would the Oil do with another prospect forward?

      • CLubhouse

        I would do Eberle and a 2nd pick for Dougie but no more.

        Our first is worth more than Dougie this year and even more cause of expansion draft. Id also argue that Flames first is worth more than Dougie or eberle this year as well.

        I agree I think there’s a real player in Dougie and would love him as 2nd pair RHD. It always takes D a while to get used to a new team look at Sekera’s start in EDM not as bad as Dougies in Calgary but similar.

      • Oilerchild77

        There you go Jeff. Now you’re talking sense. If it’s not number 1, I really think the Oilers should trade the pick for help on defence. Then move out one of the $6M players (again, I vote Eberle) for anything of value to free up more cap space and change out some of the leadership of the team.