Home » Blog » NHL Expansion Draft Looms Ahead

NHL Expansion Draft Looms Ahead

While the Nashville Predators and Pittsburgh Penguins are gearing up for the Stanley Cup Finals, other teams are thinking ahead to next month. Namely the NHL Draft and the Expansion Draft, where the Las Vegas Knights will get to choose from unprotected players. NHL teams are given the choice whether to protect four forwards and four defensmen plus a goalie. Or they can choose seven forwards, three defensive players and a goalie. The Knights can only take one player from each team. Young players are exempt, which makes it easy for teams like Toronto to keep its core intact, while giving up an average veteran.

Some teams are in trouble due to granting Non Movement Clauses in their contracts. Under the rules they can ask a player to waive his NMC for Expansion Draft purposes. If the player does he can be exposed and the team can protect somebody who better fits their long-term goals. If they don’t, teams may think of buying the player out.

Some teams will try to strike deals with the Knights, such as receiv8ing a draft pick or prospect if they don’t select a certain player. All of this is legal within the NHL guidelines. But don’t expect Las Vegas to do anything that’s not in its best interest. There is pressure on the team to be successful right from the start. There’s too many other activities in Las Vegas to occupy people. But the hope is an entertaining or winning team can get them to the arena.

Las Vegas isn’t the only team who may make out well in the expansion draft. Teams with lots of cap space, such as Phoenix or New Jersey, can take on a bad contract with the proper incentives. So why the Cup Finals will be interesting, what happens right after that may be even more so.

  • 100%