Compared to other teams around the league, the Bruins are actually in great shape for this expansion draft. There are several teams in big trouble, the Bruins however have lucked out. Because of the lack of depth at the defensive position for the Bruins, there are not too many high profile guys that need protecting. Because of said lack, the Bruins are able to opt for the 7-3-1 option, which will in turn protect 2 additional players than the 8-1 option. The Bruins entire core can be protected in its entirety. As far as Bruins with no movement clauses and therefore have to be protected, that list would include Krejci, Bergeron, Backes, and Chara. Here is my prediction on who the Bruins will protect:
Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Backes, David Krejci, David Pastrnack, Ryan Spooner, Riley Nash, Zdeno Chara, Collin Miller, Tory Krug, Tuuka Rask
Additionally, any player still on their rookie deal is also exempt from being picked by Vegas. The Bruins have a long list of these players, but the two noteworthy ones would be Frank Vatrano and Brandon Carlo.
So let’s talk about players that are left exposed, that list would include: Jimmy Hayes, Dominic Moore, Tim Schaller, Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller, John Michael Liles, Joe Morrow, Anton Khudobin, and Malcom Subban.
Let’s evaluate each option:
Jimmy Hayes: He’s garbage and the league knows it. As mush as Bruins fans want him gone, Vegas doesn’t want him either.
Dominic Moore: He’s a reliable player, but at 36 years old he’s not exactly a player you build a franchise around.
Tim Schaller: While he showed moments of good hockey, he also went dormant large parts of the season and wouldn’t be an appetizing option for Vegas.
Adam McQuaid: This is a good choice for an expansion team like Vegas. McQuaid is right in the prime for defenseman at 30 years old and is both a physical and veteran leadership force in the locker room. The only downside to McQuaid is the fact he only has 1 year left on his deal before he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
Kevan Miller: Miller, like McQuaid is at the prime of his career (29), and is a physical presence on the ice. The downside to Miller is that his contract also expires at the end of the season and he is also an unrestricted free agent.
John Michael Liles: Simply put, Liles is too old to build a team around.
Joe Morrow: While young, Morrow has simply been too unreliable for Vegas to find him appealing unfortunately we are stuck with him Bruins fans.
Anton Khudobin: Khudobin is essentially a rent a player around the league, and with the amount of goaltending talent out there, he will not be appetizing for Vegas. Especially since Vegas will surely be selecting Marc Andre Fleure from Pittsburgh.
Malcom Subban: Subban is a young goaltender that is still developing. When given the chance to prove himself in the AHL and NHL he has come up short. Seeing as he is coming off an early season, I don’t see Vegas wasting a pick on him.
The two most appealing picks for a Vegas expansion team would be McQuaid and Miller, but ultimately my prediction would be for Vegas to select Adam McQuaid for his physicality and leadership. Vegas would have to hope that McQuaid is willing to resign at the end of the 2018 season. As a Bruins fan I’ll be sad to see him go, but I wish McQuad the best in his new home in Las Vegas.