The Edmonton Oilers now look forward to summer and there will be changes. Peter Chiarelli has made roster improvements each of the last two summers, there are fewer holes this time and enormous deals are (probably) a thing of the past.
One of the early items, and a big one, is the expansion draft. With the season put to bed, I thought it might be an idea to revisit the potential protected list. Let’s start with the expansion rules, designed to satisfy Vegas’ new roster. 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Currently, these requirements can be satisfied by leaving Mark Fayne, Benoit Pouliot, Mark Letestu and Laurent Brossoit available. After watching Letestu rip it up in the playoffs, it makes sense that the Oilers may want to protect him. How can they do it? It’s actually fairly simple in fact, they could sign RFA Iiro Pakarinen (he played in 63 and 14 games in the last two seasons) and we may see that as a transaction in the coming days.
For our purposes today, let’s assume that happens. Edmonton signs Pakarinen, making him (and Benoit Pouliot) available for the expansion draft.
POTENTIAL 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, Mark Letestu.
I believe this could be the actual protected list when it comes down to it. Peter Chiarelli can pull back all of the eligible forwards with substantial offense, and a few veteran role players. I have been hearing (and reading) about Jordan Eberle may be made available, that seems a waste of assets but perhaps the Oilers want cap room that badly.
- Connor McDavid, Darnell Nurse, Matt Benning, Jesse Puljujarvi, Anton Slepyshev, Drake Caggiula, Nick Ellis
The Oilers are damned lucky this expansion draft doesn’t come next season, they would be in a massive spot of bother. Let’s look at the new eligible list.
- G Laurent Brossoit, D Mark Fayne, D Kris Russell (ufa), D Griffin Reinhart (rfa), D Jordan Oesterle(ufa), D Dillon Simpson (rfa), D David Musil (rfa), C Jujhar Khaira (rfa), C David Desharnais (ufa), L Benoit Pouliot, R Tyler Pitlick (ufa), R Iiro Pakarinen.
I think the Vegas Golden Knights are likely to choose one of Griffin Reinhart, Jujhar Khaira or Benoit Pouliot. Push comes to shove, I’m guessing Reinhart. You?