The NHL has announced the protection/exposed lists for Seattle’s expansion draft on Wednesday.
The Rangers list of protected players include:
- Forward: Mika Zibanejad, Artemi Panarin, Chris Kreider, Ryan Strome, Pavel Buchnevich, Kevin Rooney and Filip Chytil
- Defense: Jacob Trouba, Ryan Lindgren, Libor Hajek
- Goalie: Alex Georgiev
The list of players the Rangers protected include:
- Forward: Colin Blackwell, Jonny Brodzinski, Phil Di Giuseppe, Gabriel Fontaine, Julian Gauthier, Tim Gettinger, Barclay Goodrow, Anthon Greco, Ty Ronning
- Defense: Anthony Bitetto, Brandon Crawley, Tony DeAngelo, Nick DeSimone, Mason Geertsen, Jackson, Darren Raddysh, Brendan Smith
- Goalie: Keith Kinkaid
The list of players that were exempt from the expansion draft include:
- Forward: Kaapo Kakko, Alexis Lafreniere, Vitali Kravtsov, Morgan Barron
- Defense: Adam Fox, K’Andre Miller, Zac Jones
- Goalie: Igor Shesterkin
- From the NHL: “All first-and second-year professionals, as well as all unsigned draft choices, will be exempt from selection (and will not be countedtoward their club’s applicable protection limits).”
Adam Rotter: So the Rangers don’t protect Barclay Goodrow and now Seattle has the chance to speak with him and/or any pending UFA/RFA left unprotected. If Seattle does sign Goodrow then he would count as the player selected from the Rangers. The Rangers can continue to speak with Goodrow as well, but I figured that they would protect him and keep that window exclusive until July 28. At the same time, the Rangers may already be close on a deal with Goodrow and leaving him unprotected does allow them to keep Kevin Rooney.
Instead the Rangers protect Kevin Rooney and leave Colin Blackwell, Julien Gauthier, Anthony Bitetto or Keith Kinkaid as the most likely player taken by Seattle. Blackwell would probably be the biggest loss, based upon how he played last season, but in the grand scheme of it all the Rangers are only going to lose a bottom-six/depth player or someone in Julien Gauthier whose path to regular minutes is blocked by the players in front of him. Why Rooney over the others? He’s a center, penalty killer, hits and is the kind of player the Rangers want more of, not less. Had they not traded Brett Howden yesterday then you could have made a case to protect him instead, but Howden is with Vegas and Rooney could/should be on the fourth line this season.
So who will Seattle take? I think their first decision is to make a run at Goodrow, but in the event that doesn’t work out for them then I think they would take Gauthier or Keith Kinkaid. It won’t be Tony DeAngelo and I seriously doubt that they would choose Anthony Bitetto, so it comes down to Blackwell vs Gauthier. Why wouldn’t Seattle take the chance on someone with all of Gauthier’s ability and see if they can make it work.