Anaheim Expansion Draft Decisions

Photo: NHL

By Michael Walters

The much-anticipated Seattle expansion draft will take place this summer in July. Here is a breakdown of the expansion rules, who the draft exempt players are which Anaheim doesn’t have to protect, and a look at who they may or may not protect. Finally I provide a prediction as to what option General Manager Bob Murray could choose.

Expansion Draft Rules

Teams must protect either seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie(7-3-1 option) or eight skaters(8-1 option) made up of any combination of forwards and defensemen and one goalie.

The 30 teams participating (Vegas is exempt) must expose two forwards and one defenseman who are under contract for 2021-22. Forwards and defensemen must have also played in 27 or more games last season or played in 54 or more games in the last two seasons. The team must also expose one goalie who is under contract until 2021-22 or who’s contract is expiring and is an RFA at the end of the 2020-21 season.

Players who have active full no-movement clauses for 2021-22 must be protected. Those with a limited no-trade clause did not have to be protected.

Players who are pending unrestricted free agents(UFAs) can be selected and Seattle has one week to work out a contract with the player or he will head into free agency. Seattle has a 48-hour window before the draft to negotiate with that UFA. If they agree on a contract, then they will select that player. Picking a UFA is possible, but an unlikely scenario, given the short window of time to come to a deal with the player.

All first-year and second-year professionals, and all unsigned draft choices, will be exempt from selection (and will not be counted toward protection limits.)

Players with potential career-ending injuries who have missed the previous 60+ consecutive games due to an injury, do not meet the criteria set forth in respect to the draft minimum exposure requirements for players, and in certain cases these players may be exempt from the Expansion Draft process.

The Kraken must select a minimum of 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goalies from the 30 other teams. The four remaining choices can be players of any position.

For more on the rules visit: CapFriendly Expansion Draft

Draft exempt players who Anaheim doesn’t have to protect(per CapFriendly):

Forwards: Jack Badini, Max Comtois, Jacob Perreault, Benoit-Olivier Groulx, Nick Sorenson, Brayden Tracey, Trevor Zegras

Defense: Axel Andersson, Simon Benoit, Kodie Curran, Jamie Drysdale, Bryce Kindopp, Maxim Golod

Goalies: Roman Durny, Lukas Dostal, Olle Eriksson-Ek

2021 UFAs are not exempt from draft, but if a player is selected by Seattle then they would have to follow the process as outlined above in the Expansion Draft Rules section.

Unrestricted Free Agents(2021): Andrew AgozzinoDavid Backes, Trevor Carrick, Sam Carrick, Chase De Leo, Ryan Getzlaf, Vinni LettieriRyan Miller(Retired), Andrew PoturalskiCarter RowneyAndy Welinski,



Rickard Rakell: His offensive play has been up and down recently, but he is still a player in his prime that can produce. He had a high trade value during the season and the Ducks could still trade him to get a decent return in the future. Losing him to Seattle for nothing would be bad asset management.

Troy Terry: He ramped up his game down the stretch last season. He also played well with Zegras and Comtois. That line combination could be effective for years to come.

Do Not Protect:

Adam Henrique: His contract has an AAV $5.825 million and runs through 2023-24 season. He didn’t put up great offensive numbers to start last season, but he did turn it around after being benched and waived. No team picked him up when he was on waivers, so Seattle might also not take a chance on him. If the Kraken do pick him up, then the Ducks will have more much needed cap space. He was able to lead Team Canada to Gold at the IIHF World Championship, but would that change Murray’s mind about protecting him? Probably not.

Jakob Silfverberg: He is in a similar situation as Henrique in terms of his contract, which has an AAV $5.25 million and runs through 2023-24 season. It was also revealed at the end of the season that Silfverberg was dealing with a hip injury and will have to undergo surgery this offseason. The Ducks are better off not protecting him because he could free up cap space if chosen and it’s unclear how much his play will be affected by his hip.

Derek Grant: A disappointment this past season after the Ducks traded him away and then brought him back. He did have 6 goals and 9 assists, which isn’t terrible but there are plenty of other young forwards that should be protected first.

Nicolas Deslauriers: A fan favorite for his fights and grit, but he should be left unprotected. Like Grant, there are more valuable forwards ahead of him. Pittsburgh was also interested in him during last season, so there may be some teams willing to trade for him.


Isac Lundestrom: He filled well as a bottom six center. He had 6 goals + 3 assists last season in 41 games. He had one hat trick this season. He is a solid forward, but it’s unclear if he could be a full time top 6 forward.

Max Jones: Jones plays with hustle and a bit of an edge, but he hasn’t produced offensively as expected. He has played on three of the top forward lines, so he does still have value, but enough to protect him?

Sam Steel: Steel is similar to Jones in that he is a solid skater, but he also hasn’t had the offensive impact as anticipated. He had 22 points(6 g + 16 A) in 19-20. He had 12 points(6 G+ 6 A) this past season in 42 games. He was also scratched at times.

Danton Heinen: He is a good young forward at 25. He is also better than most of the bottom six forwards the Ducks currently have, but Anaheim has been hesitant to play him. He did play more down the stretch, but only because players were injured. It was rumored General Manger Bob Murray was going to trade him to Vancouver, though it didn’t happen.

Sonny Milano: He provided a spark with the Ducks when he was first traded. Last season he was only able to play in six games due to concussion issues. He brings a solid two way game, but the big question mark is what effect will the concussion have on him going forward.

Alexander Volkov: He provided some offense once he came over from Tampa Bay. He had 4 goals and 4 assists in 18 games. He is a bit of a streaky scorer, but could be more consistent over time.



Josh Manson: He didn’t played as well this season as in years past, but he still has trade value like Rakell. There were plenty of rumors and it looked like Manson was going to be sent to Carolina, but a minor trade happened instead involving Jani Hakanpaa. Murray won’t be letting Manson walk for nothing.

Hampus Lindholm: He was out most of this season, but he has been Mr. Reliable when it comes to the Ducks defensive core. There is no debate, he should be protected. Losing him to Seattle would be a huge mistake.

Do Not Protect:

Jacob Larsson: He has been too inconsistent in his time in the NHL. He is a bottom 3rd pairing for this team and won’t be anything higher.

Brendan Guhle: Ducks waived him this past season and no one took a chance on him. Just like Larsson, he won’t be anything higher than a bottom 3rd pairing on this team. He was also out with a knee injury for about two months this past season.

Josh Mahura: The Ducks seem hesitant to play him more. He does have flashes of greatness. Like Guhle and Larsson, he seems to be stuck in the bottom third pairing, though he has potential to be a top 4 defensemen. I would consider protecting him ahead of Guhle or Larsson, but bringing in Fleury makes it difficult to do so.


Cam Fowler: Cam’s deal is $6.5 million for the next 5 seasons. The Ducks could expose him and open up plenty of cap room. Fowler will be 30 next season, but will Seattle want to take on his contract until he is 34? I think it is a risk worth taking, but Murray won’t do it.

Kevin Shattenkirk: He didn’t play as well as expected since being traded to the Ducks. He is an older defensemen and costs $3.9 mil for each of the next two seasons. Losing him might actually benefit the Ducks because it would open up some cap space in the short term and the Ducks could focus getting younger on the blue line.

Haydn Fleury: He brings size and skating ability. He filled in well in the final games of the season. The question is who has the higher ceiling between him and Mahura. Right now it appears Fleury does, but Mahura could in the long run. The other issue is the Ducks traded a 6th pick and Jani Hakanpaa away from him. If the Ducks expose Fleury and he is picked, then a draft pick and Hakanpaa were traded for nothing.

Predictions 7-3-1 vs 8-1

If I were the GM, then I would pick the 7-3-1 option because it would allow the Ducks to protect as many of the young forwards as possible. It would be a gamble to expose Fowler, but if Seattle did take him, it would open up a huge amount of cap space for several years.

It’s highly unlikely that Murray would expose Fowler, so my prediction is that he will go with the 8-1 option. In this scenario, the issue will be which young forwards will Murray want to keep. It could come down to a decision between Jones or Steel.

Regardless which format is chosen, John Gibson will be protected which will expose Anthony Stolarz, who could be an attractive option for Seattle to pick.

7-3-1 Option

Forwards: Rakell, Terry, Lundestrom, Steel, Jones, Milano, Volkov/Heinen

Defense: Lindholm, Manson, & Fleury

Goalie: Gibson

8-1 Option (Ducks Prediction)

Forwards: Rakell, Terry, Lundestrom, Steel/Jones

Defense: Fowler, Lindholm, Manson, & Fleury

Goalie: Gibson

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June 13th, 2021


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