The downside of losing Brandon Davidson for nothing (in the expansion draft) was losing him for nothing. That said, at least the transaction, evil as it would have been, would have completed the expansion price. The Oilers won’t lose Brandon Davidson in the expansion draft, but will lose a player (unless a trade can be worked out). So, now what?
First, let’s establish the players who must be made available based on expansion rules. According to the rules, Edmonton must make available:
- 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. This is Mark Fayne. Source
- 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. In my example, this is Benoit Pouliot and Mark Letestu. Source
- 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. This is Laurent Brossoit. Source
MY SUGGESTED PROTECTED LIST
- Goal: Cam Talbot
- Defense: Andrej Sekera, Oscar Klefbom, Adam Larsson
- Center: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Leon Draisaitl
- Left Wing: Milan Lucic, Patrick Maroon, Jujhar Khaira
- Right Wing: Jordan Eberle, Zack Kassian
The tough decision, in my opinion, is between center Mark Letestu and winger Zack Kassian. Kassian is unsigned and an RFA, and the Oilers could choose to protect a young player instead of the veteran winger. However, Kassian has played so well it seems to me there is a chance we see are seeing a more useful player emerge. Tough choice, and you could argue in favor of Letestu, in fact I have until now.
PLAYERS WHO ARE NOT INVOLVED IN THE PROCESS
- Ineligible for Selection: G Nick Ellis, D Darnell Nurse, D Matt Benning, C Connor McDavid, R Jesse Puljujarvi, C Drake Caggiula, R Anton Slepyshev, R Patrick Russell, L Tyler Benson, C Jere Sallinen, C Kyle Platzer, R Greg Chase, L Braden Christoffer, D Andrew Ference, L Joey Laleggia, D Ryan Mantha, D Ethan Bear, D Caleb Jones, D Ben Betker, G Eetu Laurikainen.
This is an outstanding list, and combined with Edmonton’s projected list of protected players, represents one of the most promising futures in the entire NHL.
- Goalies: Laurent Brossoit; Jonas Gustavsson.
- Defense: Mark Fayne; Kris Russell (UFA); Eric Gryba; Griffin Reinhart; Dillon Simpson, David Musil, Jordan Oesterle (UFA), Mark Fraser (UFA).
- Centers: Mark Letestu; David Desharnais (UFA); Anton Lander; Henrik Samuelsson; Bogdan Yakimov; Zachary Pochiro.
- Left Wing: Benoit Pouliot; Matt Hendricks (UFA).
- Right Wing: Iiro Pakarinen; Tyler Pitlick (UFA); Justin Fontaine (UFA).
WHO IS GOING?
My guess is Griffin Reinhart. Why? There are better players, but Mark Letestu is a free agent in 2018 and drafting Benoit Pouliot seems unnecessary in that the Vegas club probably wants a sweetener from Edmonton to take on salary. Reinhart is RFA, coming off his entry-level deal and looking at a reasonable contract. Vegas would have him under control for several years and GM George McPhee values WHL defenders with size.
Do you agree? Or is there another name that you think will be going?