Expansion Draft Implications

There's been a bunch of commentary in threads about who is or isn't potentially expansion vulnerable, particularly if there's a big signing today. I was about to suggest to Dan that we needed an expansion draft eligibility roster summary post when I found General Fanager's expansion draft tool.

The definition of "pro year" is still not specified to the degree people would like, but GF is operating under the assumption that it's the same as used elsewhere in the CBA (and discussed on their Rules tab). If that's the case, young vulnerable players include Arvidsson, Aberg, and Sissons, while safe players include Fiala (will be within two-year period on basis of age and low NHL use in prior seasons) plus Kamenev and Saros (will only be second pro year, regardless of counting method).

Additionally, teams have to expose players who are both under contract (including RFA qualifying offers) for 2017-18 and who played a bunch of games (either 40 in 2016-17 or 70 in 2015-16 + 2016-17). GF's tool marks this with a green 70 for players who meet the latter (by playing 70 games in 2015-16) and a yellow 40/70 for players who played in the NHL last year, but fewer than 70 games. Teams must expose two such forwards and one such defenseman.

At forward, the Preds are fine. Contract-eligible players include Bass, Salomaki, Sissons, and Wilson, plus Arvidsson and Watson as RFAs, plus Jarnkrok once he signs this offseason (either under contract or again RFA). Of those, Jarnkrok has hit the game threshold. Wilson needs 6, Salomaki needs 9, Watson needs 13, Arvidsson needs 14, and Sissons needs 36. If four D are protected, only two of those players need to hit their marks -- easy. If only three D are protected, all 5 noted here need to hit, which is still straightforward (only Sissons needs to play more than a quarter of the season). Note that I don't know why GF is flagging a player like Arvidsson as green; not only does he not have 70 games in 2015-16, he doesn't yet have 70 career NHL games. As such, games played stats are from the Preds' site.

At defense, there are no current eligible players who aren't a likely protection target. Thus, the Preds need one of their young defensemen to reach 40 games played this season (none have enough GP from last year to make the 70-over-2 target meaningful). I figure Bitetto, at least, probably makes it; a two-year FA veteran signing (like Jackman's contract last year) would also work. So Poile's hand probably won't be forced here, either.

At goalie, Rinne must be protected due to his NMC, unless he waives it. Mazanec is under contract for 2017-18, and there is no GP requirement at goalie. Saros is safe. So, Mazanec is the probable exposed player.

Next, and not noted at GF, is that teams must expose 25% of their 2016-17 salary cap. However, critically, this does not have to be players under contract for 2017-18. So, that's bit less than $19M in the worst case (where the full cap must be exposed). Fisher and Ribiero cover $8M of that. Wilson is another $4M. Arvidsson/Bass/Salomaki/Sissons/Watson are another $3.5M of current contract, leaving about $3.5M to cover. Between all the various exposed-in-Milwaukee players documented at GF, this gets covered even before Jarnkrok's raise factors in.

Finally, nearly all of this assumes protecting 4F / 4D. If instead the plan is 7F/3D, the question becomes one of whether Poile can meet the 25% cap exposure rule. A hypothetical new FA forward is the first of three newly-protected forwards, and pushes the exposure requirement to cap max. Ellis (newly exposed) and Jarnkrok (presumably newly protected) probably wash out in salary, but if Wilson is protected, his $4M could be tough to account for elsewhere. So, regardless of anything else, Wilson (or Smith, if you prefer) may be the under-contract sacrifice to the cap rule.

This FanPost was written by an OTF reader, and does not represent the views of the editorial staff. Got something you'd like to share? Post your own!

In This FanPost