Everything you always wanted to know about the 2021 Expansion Draft
but were afraid to ask
In ten days, the Seattle Kraken will post its first-ever roster for the hockey world to see. 30 of the league 31 teams, excluding the Vegas Golden Knights, will lose one player to the Kraken. Vegas is exempt from the expansion draft and will not receive a share of the $650 million expansion fee from Seattle.
With the Florida Panthers protection list due to the league at 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 17. I thought this would be a good time to go over the rules.
Rules for the Kraken
- Seattle must select 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goalies. The remaing four picks can be used on any position. In 2017, the Golden Knights used all four of these picks on defensemen.
- The total value of cap hits for players the Kraken selects must total between 60 and 100 percent of the $81.5 million 2020-21 salary cap. So, they must finish the expansion draft with a cap hit of least $48.9 million.
- Of the players Seattle selects, at least 20 of the 30 players must be under contract for the 2021-22 regular season. The other players they select are allowed to be pending free agents, but they can not select any more than 10 pending free agents.
- The players Seattle selects are not eligible to be bought out of their contracts by the Kraken until after the completion of the 2021-22 season./
Protecting the Panthers
- Teams can choose between two protection schemes for its players: Either seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender for a total of 11 players, or teams can protect any combination of eight skaters, regardless of position, and a goalie. For example, the Cats could protect four defensemen and four forwards or even five defensemen and three forwards.
- Teams are obligated to protect players with no-movement clauses (Keith Yandle, Sergei Bobrovsky, Jonathan Huberdeau) in their contracts, unless the player elects to waive the clause for the purpose of the expansion draft. Calgary’s Milan Lucic is one player helping his team out by doing this. Teams do not have to protect players with no-trade clauses.
- Players with only two pro seasons, and all unsigned draft choices, are exempt from the expansion draft.
- Players still under contract but not expected to play again (there are 18 of them) due to long-term or chronic injury will be exempt from the draft. Florida does not have anyone who falls into this category./
Who is at risk of heading to Seattle?
- Teams must expose two forwards and one defenseman who are under contract in 2021-22, have played in at least 27 NHL games the prior season, or played 54 NHL games in the previous two seasons.
- For goalies, at least one must be under contract in 2021-22 or be a restricted free agent prior to 2021-22. If a goaltender is exposed who is a restricted free agent, he must have already received his qualifying offer.
- Seattle will be granted a 48-hour window prior to the draft to sign any unprotected pending free agent (restricted or unrestricted, one per team). If a team loses a player to the Kraken during the signing window, it will not have a player selected from its roster during the draft as this will count as Seattle’s selection./
Who happened in 2017?
Last time out Florida blundered badly in regards to its then roster by using the 8-1 protection scheme. The nine protected players were Aleksander Barkov, Nick Bjugstad, Jonathan Huberdeau, Vincent Trocheck, Aaron Ekblad, Keith Yandle, Mark Pysyk and James Reimer.
The Panthers traded Reilly Smith to the Golden Knights so Vegas would select 30-goal scorer Jonathan Marchessault on a dark day that continues to live in infamy. Florida got back a fourth-round pick in 2018 that ended up being part of the trade that brought Mike Hoffman from San Jose to South Florida.
Which protection scheme would you use?