What you need to know about the NHL Expansion Draft


David Allard

The first NHL Expansion Draft took place in 1967 when the league expanded from 6 teams to 12 teams. Obviously by doubling the teams you now need double the players. At the time the best of the best hockey talent was already playing in the NHL, and expecting the expansion teams to find players outside the NHL would be dooming them to at least a decade of non-competitiveness. This is where the idea of the expansion draft was born. Each of the new teams would have the opportunity to select players from the already existing teams to create a league in which all teams could be competitive. This is the basic idea behind the expansion draft coming up on June 21 for the Vegas Golden Knights.

The newly founded team will have the opportunity to select one player from the rosters of all 30 teams in the NHL. By selecting 30 NHL caliber players it is the hope of the league that the Knights could potentially make the playoffs as early as next season

The teams around the NHL also have input on who they will lose to the new team. They have been given 2 packages from the NHL ago choose from. In package 1, the team can protect 1 goaltender, 7 forwards, and 3 defenseman. The 2nd package allows teams to protect 1 goalie and 8 skaters (regardless of whether they are forward or defense).

Package 1 seems like it would appeal to more teams, as they get to protect 11 of their players, as opposed to the second package which only protects 9. A majority of teams will likely choose this package. However, for teams deep at the defensive position such as the Jets and Senators, the second package is a must in order to protect the talent on the blue line. Something else important to note is that any player under a no movement clause must be protected by the team, which would take up a slot for protection. Additionally, any player still on their rookie deal would also be unavailable for selection, so Vatrano and Carlo will be safe Bruins fans.

There is actually a third option in this expansion draft, and that is to make a deal with the Knights. Teams such as the Anaheim Ducks or Pittsburgh Penguins simply have too much talent on their roster to possibly protect everybody. In a scenario like this, it would be possible for these teams to formulate a deal with the Knights stating that nobody will be selected in exchange for draft picks or future considerations.

It is impossible to know what will happen on June 21, but by looking at each teams likely protected players and guessing what Vegas would be looking for we can formulate predictions. My next article will be outlining predictions as to who each team will lose in the upcoming draft. Stay tuned to find out who your team will be losing next week.



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