New York Rangers: Looking ahead to the expansion draft

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LAS VEGAS, NV – JUNE 21: A general view during the 2017 NHL Awards and Expansion Draft at T-Mobile Arena on June 21, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

With the signing of Chris Kreider that represents another long-term contract for the New York Rangers. It’s worth looking ahead to see what the impact the expansion draft will have on the team.

Before anyone panics about the draft, it’s important to remember that the team can lose only one player. That’s it.  That could be a player who will be missed, but the New York Rangers organization is pretty deep and there are plenty of options in the pipeline.

The NHL will expand to 32 teams in time for 2021-22 season and the expansion draft will be held after next season concludes.  The good news is that the league will be balanced with 16 teams in each Conference.  Seattle will join the Pacific Division and Arizona will move to the Central Division.

Former Hurricanes excecutive Ron Francis is the general manager and will be challenged with trying to emulate the success of the Vegas Golden Knights, no easy task.  They have registered the following names for the team:

Cougars, Eagles, Emeralds, Evergreens, Firebirds, Krakens, Rainiers,  Renegades, Sea Lions, Seals, Sockeyes, Totems and Whales.

Expansion draft rules

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it so the NHL will use the exact same rules for the expansion draft that they used in 2017 when Vegas joined the NHL with two options for each team.

Option 1:  Protect seven forwards: three defensemen and one goalie

Option 2:  Protect eight skaters (forwards or defensemen) and one goalie.

Must be protected:  Any players with a “No Movement” clause in their contracts unless they waive the clause.

Who is exempt:  All first and second year professional (NHL or AHL)  players as well as unsigned draft choices are exempt.   That means any player who played his first AHL or NHL season this season cannot be drafted.

Who must be exposed:  Every team MUST expose two forwards who are under contract for the 2021-22 season and have played a minimum of 70 NHL games over the two prior years or at least 40 NHL games this season.

Same rules apply to defensemen, though every team has to expose only one blueliner.

As far as goalies, every team must expose one goaltender who is either under contract for 2021-22 or is an RFA and receives a qualifying offer before the expansion draft.

There is no loophole with injured players.  If a player is injured and missed the last 60 consecutive games before the draft, they can’t be used to fulfill the draft requirement.

Any player who is injured and has missed more than 60 consecutive games prior to the draft cannot be used to satisfy the three exposure requirements just described.

Those are the rules that are important to the Rangers.  Seattle will pick one player from all teams except the Golden Knights who are exempt (that hardly seems fair).

The current roster

The Rangers have a number of players who have those annoying no movement clauses in their contracts.  The good news is those players would all be protected anyway in the expansion draft so there is no harm.  Here’s a look at the current roster of players under contract.

Who must be protected:

Artemi Panarin, Mika ZIbanejad, Chris Kreider, Jacob Trouba

Future RFA’s who will be draft eligible:

Lias AnderssonPavel BuchnevichFilip Chytil, Brandon Crawley, Sean Day, Tony DeAngelo, Phillip  Di Giuseppe, Nick Ebert, Julien Gauthier,  Alexandar Georgiev, Ryan Gropp, Gabriel Fontaine, Tim Gettinger, Libor HajekBrett Howden, Dawson Leedahl, Brendan LemieuxVinni LettieriRyan Lindgren, Boo Nieves, Danny O’Regan, Darren Raddysh, Ty Ronning and Ryan Strome.

Players with expiring contracts: 

Matt Beleskey, J.F. Berube, Jesper FastSteven Fogarty, Micheal Haley, Henrik Lundqvist, Greg McKeggBrendan SmithMarc Staal.

Who is exempt: 

Jake Elmer, Adam Fox, Adam Huska,  Kaapo Kakko, Patrick Newell, Yegor Rekov, Tarmo Reunanen, Matthew Robertson, Igor Shesterkin and Vitali Kravtsov.

Who will they want to protect?

Goalies (1):  Alexandar Georgiev

Defensemen (4):  Tony DeAngelo, Libor Hajek, Ryan LindgrenJacob Trouba,

Forwards (9):   Pavel Buchnevich, Filip Chytil, Julien Gauthier, Brett Howden, Chris Kreider, Brendan Lemieux, Artemi Panarin, Ryan Strome, Mika Zibanejad

Every other player who is signed through 2021-22 or will probably be signed through that season doesn’t make the list of players the team will want to protect.

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