Boston Bruins Need To Be Ready For Expansion Draft

Mar 7, 2016; Sunrise, FL, USA; Boston Bruins left wing David Pastrnak (88) loosing up before a game against the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 7, 2016; Sunrise, FL, USA; Boston Bruins left wing David Pastrnak (88) loosing up before a game against the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports /

In a few days, the NHL Board of Governors will officially announce that Las Vegas has been awarded an expansion team. The Las Vegas team is expected to be joining the league in the 2017-18 season provided billionaire Bill Foley and his team can put together the $500 million dollar entry fee. (Sadly, even if that money went straight in to the league’s coffers, it wouldn’t balance out the loss from the last time the NHL brought hockey to the desert.) Now, the Boston Bruins will need to get ready for the expansion draft.

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The Boston Bruins are looking at two potential scenarios here: The Black and Gold can choose to  protect seven of their forwards, three of their defensemen, and one goalie.  The other scenario has the Bruins choosing to keep eight members of the team (forwards and/or defenseman) and one goalie. The Bruins must protect players that have no-movement clauses that are active for the 2017-18 season.

This is a big change from the last expansion draft. Granted it’s been a while, but when the last expansion draft was held back in 2000, NHL teams were allowed to protect both their lead and backup goaltenders.

So, which players are safe from being taken by the Black Knights? Looking at the above rules, the following members of the Boston Bruins wont be packing up for Las Vegas.

Forwards – David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron, and Matt Beleskey

Defensemen – Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg

Goaltender – Tuukka Rask

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Hopefully someone in the Bruins front office reads this and impresses on Don Sweeney and company the need to sign Brad Marchand and Torey Krug to contracts as soon as humanely possible.

The Bruins will be forced to put several of their young guns on the block.  Another of the rules of the expansion draft will require the Bruins and the other NHL teams to make available at least  two forwards and one defenseman who played at least 40 games in the 2016-17 season, or a combined 70 in the last two seasons, as long as they are not in their first or second year as a professional hockey player.

According to that rule Frank Vatrano will be a viable target if he plays 31 games in Boston next year. Colin Miller, Zach Trotman, and Joe Morrow (players who could actually grow this season and help fix the B’s blueline) would be viable candidates as well.

The Bruins haven’t had much loyalty for their backup goaltender these last few seasons. Anton Khudobin, Chad Johnson, Niklas Svedbeg, and Jonas Gustavsson have all been ‘one-and-done’ in Boston. It would be a shame if Malcolm Subban finally makes the team and plays up to his potential only to be grabbed by Vegas. (At the moment, that scenario is rather unlikely due to the number of high quality backup goaltenders in the league right now.)

Las Vegas will be required to draft one player from every team in the league. So, who would the Black Knights most likely grab? We could hope to get lucky and see the Vegas team grab a player like Kevan Miller or Adam McQuaid. Alexander Khokhlachev is on a one-year deal in Russia and the Bruins still retain his rights. We could get lucky there as well.

As all contracts stand right now, the Boston Bruins player most likely to be selected by the Las Vegas team would be forward David Pastrnak. He would be in his third professional season, he’s played enough games not be excluded, and Pastrnak does not have a no-move/no-trade clause in his contract.

The Bruins have been given a year to get ready for this draft. They will still have players on their roster that they can protect (or in Dennis Seidenberg’s case potentially buyout to create another safe spot). The B’s will need to take a long, hard look at the players they see as the future of the franchise and do what they can to make sure they stay in Boston.