Who will the Blues Lose in the Expansion Draft?

Updated: Jul 20, 2021

***image from nhl.com

We are a week away from the NHL Expansion Draft for the new franchise, the Seattle Kraken. If you are unfamiliar with the expansion draft, what it does is set up an opportunity for the new franchise to fill their roster with players from the existing NHL rosters (except for the Vegas Golden Knights because they are the newest team). Teams are allowed to protect players, meaning Seattle cannot take them. There are many other rules, such as protecting players with no-movement clauses (unless waived by the player), but you can research that at your own leisure. I would frankly confuse anyone reading this as well as myself if I broke that down.

The Blues have an interesting offseason ahead of them, especially with the now old news that winger Vladimir Tarasenko wants to be traded. The Blues also have three UFAs they need to replace or re-sign (Schwartz, Bozak, Hoffman) and a myriad of RFAs they need to make decisions on (Thomas, Kyrou, Barbashev, Sanford, Dunn). They also have to evaluate most likely internal options to replace defenseman Carl Gunnarsson who retired after sustaining a fairly gruesome injury that ended his 2020-21 season. The draft is the first step or wrinkle in that. I'll break down categories that I would put the players into and then predict what will happen on July 21. There are 2 ways you can protect players, and I will be using the protection model of 7 forwards, 3 defensemen, and 1 goalie.

The Locks to Be Protected

Ryan O'Reilly

Brayden Schenn

David Perron

Robert Thomas

Jordan Kyrou

Justin Faulk

Torey Krug

Colton Parayko

Jordan Binnington

You may look at the lock list and realize that it really only leaves two slots at the forward position to protect. I would expect that this is the case with a lot of NHL teams. Thomas and Kyrou and still cheap and RFAs and seemingly the future of the franchise at the forward position. O'Reilly is your captain, Perron arguably your best offensive player, and Schenn, you just signed through 2027-28. Your top 3 defensemen are Faulk, Krug, and Parayko. As much as I like Marco Scandella, he doesn't break the protection list. The same goes for Ville Husso. You protect the guy who literally won you a Stanley Cup.

The "Hopefully We Can Trade Them Before the Draft" Guys

Vladimir Tarasenko

Vince Dunn

Tarasenko has said he wants out. It would be nice not to have to waste a lock spot potentially on a guy who doesn't want to be there. Dunn would be on the outside looking in for a protected spot. Still, for a young defenseman who certainly has shown some skill (despite how Blues fans on social media may feel) and is a relatively inexpensive RFA, it would be nice to at least get a draft pick for him. If not traded, he certainly becomes a candidate to be selected by Seattle. Keep in mind that if forwards are obtained via trade before the expansion draft lists are due, they could easily be protected.

The "Probably Protected" Guy

Oskar Sundqvist