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Reports: Expansion draft info given to NHL teams

Daniel Nugent-Bowman
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T-Mobile Arena during the venue's grand opening celebration (Ethan Miller/Getty Images for MGM Resorts International) Author: The Hockey News

News

Reports: Expansion draft info given to NHL teams

Daniel Nugent-Bowman
By:

The NHL has yet to announce the addition of a new team in Las Vegas – or anywhere else. But, according to multiple reports, the ground rules for an expansion draft have been relayed to league executives.

The NHL has yet to announce the addition of a new team in Las Vegas – or anywhere else. But, according to multiple reports, the ground rules for an expansion draft have been relayed to league executives.

Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston and James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail both reported the league’s 30 owners received information about how an expansion draft would unfold if it’s held next summer – in time for the 2017-18 season. The most prominent provisions existing teams would be obliged to follow when protecting players revolve around veteran statuses and no-movement clauses.

Johnston and Mirtle said the NHL will make its teams leave two forwards and one defenseman who have played at least 40 games during the previous season or 70 over the previous two available to be picked. These players must have term left on their contracts.

Any player with a no-movement clause that extends into 2017-18 – including those modified by limited no-trades, such as Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury – would count against the protection limit, according to Johnston. Teams could ask those players to waive their clause to be eligible for the expansion draft. However, Mirtle reported there is likely to be exceptions for players with career-ending injuries like Ryane Clowe and Nathan Horton. Those with contracts expiring on June 30, 2017, like Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman and Minnesota Wild right winger Thomas Vanek, would be exempt because of their impending free agent statuses.

According to Mirtle, NHL teams wouldn’t be allowed to reacquire players they trade between Jan. 1, 2017 and Jan. 1, 2018 in case they attempt to evade the expansion draft rules.

In March, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said teams would have the option of protecting seven forwards, three defensemen and a goalie or eight skaters and a goalie. First- and second-year players are automatically exempt from the selection process, he said. Johnston reported that determining the classification of a second-year player would be based on the definition in the collective bargaining agreement – 10 games with 18 or 19 or any pro season when older. Therefore, the Edmonton Oilers would have to protect center Leon Draisaitl, who played 37 NHL games in 2014-15 before being returned to the WHL, or risk losing him.

As for rules involving any expansion team, Mirtle reported it would be barred from buying out any player picked in the expansion draft until the following off-season. He added the expansion team would be given the same lottery odds for the amateur draft as the team finishing 28th overall. Thus, expansion team would pick no worse than sixth.

The NHL’s board of governors is expected to vote on the expansion bids from Las Vegas and Quebec City on June 22. Las Vegas is looking like the more likely option. Quebecor chairman and former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney said earlier this month that the chances of Quebec getting a team are “thin for tomorrow,” but added he was optimistic about future relocation.

Each existing NHL team can only lose one player per incoming expansion team.

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Reports: Expansion draft info given to NHL teams