NHL Expansion Draft: Predicting who the Detroit Red Wings will protect

(Photo by Jim Bennett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jim Bennett/Getty Images) /

Today is the day the Detroit Red Wings and the rest of the NHL, aside from the Vegas Golden Knights who are exempt, need to submit their expansion draft player-protected list.  The deadline for teams to submit their list is 5 p.m Est.

You could make an argument that the Vegas Golden Knights, who have already made an NHL finals appearance plus a semi-finals birth this past season, would be forced to unprotect a far superior player than most NHL teams due to having such a stellar lineup in place.

The Seattle Kraken, NHL Expansion Draft is set to occur on Wednesday, July 21st, at 8 p.m Est.  It can be viewed on ESPN2, along with Sportsnet for our Canadian readers.

The rules are fairly simple.

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Teams have two methods to choose from when it comes to protecting players.  Organizations need to decipher between keeping a total of eight skaters at any position and a goaltender or seven forwards, three defensemen, and a goaltender.  Players exempt from being selected are first or second-year players or unsigned draft picks.

For a rebuilding franchise like the Detroit Red Wings, this is easy to predict.  The Red Wings certainly will be protecting seven forwards, three defenders, and one netminder.

Here are the seven forwards I feel the Detroit Red Wings will protect.

  • Dylan Larkin
  • Tyler Bertuzzi
  • Robby Fabbri
  • Michael Rasmussen
  • Jakub Vrana
  • Givani Smith
  • Adam Erne

These forwards are fairly straightforward in my eyes.  Two names left off the list are Evgeny Svechnikov and Vladislav Namestnikov.  You can make an argument that either could be chosen over Smith or Erne.  Erne’s offensive surge last season certainly warrants a roster spot, and with Smith’s upside, I’d elect to protect him over the pair of Russian forwards I’ve left off.

Here are the three defenders and goaltenders I expect the Detroit Red Wings to protect.

Two notable names left off this list are prospects Dennis Cholowski and Gustav Lindstrom.  I am fine with leaving both youthful defenders off this list if it means keeping Stecher around for at least another season.  Also, that is something I would not have considered a year ago.

Greiss is the only goaltender on the active roster as Jonathan Bernier is a pending unrestricted free agent, so he’s protected by default.

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What do you think of my list?  Would you swap anyone out?  If so, who?  Please let me know in the comments.