Washington Capitals and the Expansion Draft
May 22, 2017, 11:48 AM ET [29 Comments]
Washington Capitals Blogger • RSS • Archive • CONTACT
In the upcoming expansion draft, a team can protect either ten skaters or eight. If they choose ten, they can only protect three defensemen. If they choose to protect eight, it can be of any combination of F and D.
In each scenario you can protect a single goalie.
So how will the Capitals approach the expansion draft?
I think they pretty much have to protect ten players, even though that means they'll almost certainly lose Nate Schmidt.
Although, maybe they won't. The rules will expose a lot of good defenseman, so it's possible the Capitals will lose Phillip Grubauer instead.
If we assume they'll protect ten players, then we can make some reasonable guesses about who they'll protect.
This is the easiest, as obviously they are not going to expose Braden Holtby.
Kevin Shattenkirk is an unrestricted free-agent. They can't afford to re-sign him, but at least they don't have to protect him.
The Capitals will protect three defenseman: Matt Niskanen, Dmitri Orlov and John Carlson.
It's too bad they have to expose Nate Schmidt - he's a fast skater and therefore almost always effective. If there is a way to keep him they should explore it.
Karl Alzner is a UFA and doesn't need to be protected. Brooks Orpik won't be protected or selected. Too bad, because if they could get rid of his contract that would really help keep the team together.
The Capitals can protect seven forwards, and most of them are fairly obvious choices:
That leaves two spots that are not so obvious.
Lars Eller and Brett Connolly are probably the two they'll chose, though they could, I guess, if they were absolutely nuts, protect Tom Wilson or Daniel Winnik.
If the Capitals wanted to get fancy, they could protect four D, keep Schmidt and protect only Ovechkin, Burakovsky, Backstrom and Kuznetsov.
They could then trade Marcus Johannson. He's a useful player and I think I'd rather risk losing Schmidt, but it would depend on what the return was.
It's something to consider anyway