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The Calgary Flames made two trades prior to the NHL’s trade deadline last week, sending David Rittich to Toronto and Sam Bennett to Florida. With the Seattle Kraken joining the NHL via an expansion draft in mid-July, it’s worth revisiting the club’s expansion draft situation after those moves.

2021’s expansion draft rules

The Seattle expansion draft will use the same rules as the Vegas expansion draft back in 2017, with the exception being that Vegas is exempt. They won’t lose a player, but they also won’t get a piece of the sweet, sweet $650 million expansion fee that the 30 other clubs get.

For players to be eligible for selection, they must have completed their third season under an NHL contract. Unsigned draft picks are exempt, as are players who have only completed one or two years under contract.

The 30 teams will have two options for player protection:

  • 1 goalie, 3 defensemen, 7 forwards
  • 1 goalie, 8 skaters (defensemen & forwards in any combination)

(Players with no-move clauses are automatically protected unless they agree to waive that protection. No-trade clauses have no impact on the expansion draft.)

Each team are required to expose (at least) this combination of players:

  • 1 goalie, either under contract for 2021-22 or a pending restricted free agent who has been tendered a qualifying offer
  • 1 defenseman, under contract for 2021-22, who has played either 27+ games in 2020-21 or 54 games combined between 2019-20 and 2020-21
  • 2 forwards, under contract for 2021-22, who has played either 27+ games in 2020-21 or 54 games combined between 2019-20 and 2020-21

Goaltenders

Exempt: Artyom Zagidulin (RFA), Dustin Wolf

Meet Exposure Requirement: Jacob Markstrom, Tyler Parsons (RFA)

UFA: Louis Domingue

Protected: Markstrom

Nothing’s changed here. Markstrom has a no-move clause and is the team’s undisputed top goaltender (so he won’t be asked to waive). Parsons will likely be qualified to meet the exposure requirement.

Defensemen

Exempt: Alexander Yelesin (RFA), Connor Mackey (RFA), C.J. Lerby (RFA), Johannes Kinnvall, Juuso Valimaki (RFA), Colton Poolman (RFA), Yan Kuznetsov, Ilya Solovyov

Meet Exposure Requirement: Noah Hanifin, Rasmus Andersson, Mark Giordano, Chris Tanev, Oliver Kylington (RFA)

UFAs: Michael Stone, Nikita Nesterov, Alex Petrovic

Protected: Hanifin, Andersson and Tanev

Nothing’s changed here. The only real debate here is protecting Chris Tanev or Mark Giordano. As we’ve discussed, it seems like better asset management to protect Tanev (along with the two young core defenders Hanifin and Andersson).

Forwards

Exempt: Connor Zary, Emilio Pettersen, Jakob Pelletier, Luke Philp, Eetu Tuulola, Adam Ruzicka, Martin Pospisil, Dmitry Zavgorodniy, Walker Duehr

Meet Exposure Requirement: Matthew Tkachuk, Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Mikael Backlund, Milan Lucic, Elias Lindholm, Andrew Mangiapane, Dominik Simon (RFA), Dillon Dube (RFA)

Eligible, Don’t Meet Requirement: Matthew Phillips (RFA), Glenn Gawdin (RFA), Justin Kirkland (RFA)

UFAs: Derek Ryan, Josh Leivo, Buddy Robinson, Brett Ritchie, Joakim Nordstrom, Zac Rinaldo

Protected: Tkachuk, Gaudreau, Monahan, Backlund, Lindholm, Mangiapane and Dube

The Flames need to expose two players under contract, which is where they would’ve used Sam Bennett – and asked Milan Lucic to waive his no-move clause – before the trade deadline.

So now? Well, Lucic will still be asked to waive. But for the other spot, they’ll need to re-sign somebody for the explicit purpose of possibly losing them! The forwards that meet the requirements, or soon will, are Brett Ritchie, Derek Ryan, Josh Leivo, Dominik Simon and Joakim Nordstrom. Aside from Ryan, these guys are all depth players – though Ritchie and Nordstrom have been decent in their roles.

Who will they lose?

Two players seem the most tempting from a Seattle perspective, one for his potential and one for what he currently is.

Kylington has a lot of potential. He skates well, moves the puck well, can play both sides, and if Seattle can nab a two-way defender to play with him in a stay-at-home role, Kylington could be a massive hit for the Kraken.

Ryan is already quite good. He can play anywhere in the lineup, is a strong penalty kill, and he’s from Spokane, just a few hours drive from Seattle in the same state. He’s a pending free agent but also someone the Flames would probably like to re-sign – he’s great in his role – and so Seattle could look at him the same way that Vegas did Deryk Engelland in 2017.

Beyond that, the remaining exposed Flames players are primarily older guys with big contracts, two factors that should be enough to steer Seattle away from Lucic (32; $5.25 million) and Giordano (37; $6.75 million).

What moves should the Flames make before the expansion draft? Which forward should they sign to expose to Seattle? Sound off in the comments!


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