There are subtle shifts occurring in the Edmonton Oilers’ roster, and those movements may dictate what happens this summer—including the expansion draft. Edmonton is fortunate because much of the McDavid cluster is not eligible for the expansion draft:
- Connor McDavid, Darnell Nurse, Matt Benning, Jesse Puljujarvi, Anton Slepyshev, Drake Caggiula, Nick Ellis, Caleb Jones, Ethan Bear, Ziyat Paigin, Joey Laleggia, Ben Betker, Ryan Mantha, Joe Gambardella, Kyle Platzer, Greg Chase, Tyler Benson, Patrick Russell,William Lagesson, Shane Starrett.
That isn’t the complete list of ineligible players, but pretty close. Edmonton’s ability to protect this group before submitting their list is a major advantage—God forbid we see another expansion draft in 2019.
Let’s review the assets list: best player in the game, two NHL defensemen, a PF prospect who is NHL-ready, two forwards vying to become NHL regulars (Slepyshev, Caggiula), a plethora of defensive prospects and a few interesting prospects. Fantastic!
PROJECTED PROTECTED LIST
The NHL exposure rules are specific, with Mark Fayne, Benoit Pouliot and Mark Letestu needing to be exposed (source). With that understood, here is my expansion protected list:
- Goal: Cam Talbot
- Defense: Andrej Sekera, Adam Larsson, Oscar Klefbom
- Forwards: Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Milan Lucic, Jordan Eberle, Patrick Maroon, Zack Kassian, Jujhar Khaira
It has been for some time, and I think that represents the ideal protected list. This would give the Vegas Golden Knights the following (obvious) options:
- G Laurent Brossoit, D Mark Fayne, D Kris Russell (UFA), D Griffin Reinhart, D Jordan Oesterle (UFA), D Dillon Simpson, C Mark Letestu, C David Desharnais (UFA), L Benoit Pouliot, R Tyler Pitlick (UFA), R Iiro Pakarinen.
Edmonton probably wants the Golden Knights to take Benoit Pouliot, that represents a massive (and badly needed) helping hand in terms of cap next season. I wonder about a sweetener. If you’re Vegas, you can probably find a player like Pouliot for less, and may prefer drafting Griffin Reinhart or Mark Letestu.
If you’re Edmonton, and want Vegas to take Pouliot, what is an acceptable sweetener?
Jujhar Khaira is a player I would protect from the expansion draft. He’s a big winger, and his offense has improved over the three seasons of Khaira’s entry-level deal.
Anton Slepyshev is an emerging talent, he represents a value deal and is ineligible for the expansion draft.
Griffin Reinhart is a big WHL defender and a player the Golden Knights may see as a possible solution for years to come.
QUESTION FOR YOU
Let’s say general manager George McPhee is willing to take Benoit Pouliot in the expansion draft, but the sweetener is Jujhar Khaira. Would you do it? What if the ask is Anton Slepyshev? Griffin Reinhart?
I look forward to hearing from you!