The next couple weeks could be among the busiest in NHL history in terms of the number of significant transactions we might see.
Teams have until Saturday to submit their protection list for the NHL Expansion Draft, but the deadline to request that a player waive his no-movement clause was Monday at 5 p.m. ET.
A player’s willingness to accept or decline could significantly impact his team’s plans and the plans of the expansion Vegas Golden Knights. The deadline for a player to submit his decision was Friday at 5 p.m. ET.
The biggest news from a Canadian team perspective is Ottawa Senators defenceman Dion Phaneuf has declined to waive his clause. More on that below.
Here’s what else has happened thus far on the NMC front.
Anaheim has some difficult decisions to make on their blue line ahead of Saturday’s expansion draft protection list deadline. The Ducks have a glut of talent on the back end, namely Hampus Lindholm, Cam Fowler and Sami Vatanen. Luckily for them Shea Theodore and Brandon Montour are exempt but Josh Manson has emerged as a valuable piece and with a $825,000 cap hit he gives Bob Murray plenty of bang for his buck. Manson—just like Lindholm, Fowler and Vatanen—is too valuable to give up without getting anything in return.
NEW YORK RANGERS
Two of the New York Rangers’ top defencemen aren’t going anywhere.
According to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, blueliners Marc Staal and Dan Girardi weren’t asked to waive their no-trade clauses.
Both Staal and Girardi averaged just over 19 minutes a game for the Rangers this season. New York was eliminated in the second round of Stanley Cup Playoffs by the Ottawa Senators.
The Ottawa Senators asked Dion Phaneuf to waive his no-movement clause, and while Phaneuf provided vague answers when he met with the media this week in Toronto while attending Joe Carter’s charity golf tournament, Senators GM Pierre Dorion confirmed on Thursday that Dion declined to waive his NMC.
“We talked. Dion’s a pro. He’s been around the league many years,” Dorion told reporters. “It was a man-to-man conversation. It was a good conversation. It was explained very well to him our request and why we were making this request.”
Dorion added that his respect for Dion had not changed. “I still think he’s a big part of this team and the fact he wants to be here tells me a lot about him,” he said.
It’s believed the three defencemen the Senators want to protect are Cody Ceci, Marc Methot and some guy named Erik Karlsson. The team could still trade Dion to allow them to go this route, though time is running out. The trade freeze kicks in at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday (teams must also submit their protected lists by 5 p.m. ET on Saturday).
Phaneuf’s no-movement clause was agreed to when he inked a seven-year, $49-million contract extension on New Year’s Eve 2013, back when he was the captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs. The 32-year-old has four more seasons remaining on his deal with an annual salary cap hit of $7 million. Phaneuf also has a modified no-trade clause where he can submit a list of 10 teams he can be traded to.
The Pittsburgh Penguins and Nashville Predators were given an extra day to make their NMC requests since their seasons concluded Sunday night, only the Penguins didn’t wait until the last minute to ask Marc-Andre Fleury to waive his NMC.
In fact, according to Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports, the veteran netminder complied way back in February.
Fleury, a first-overall pick of the Penguins’ in the 2003 draft, passed the Stanley Cup to Matt Murray as Pittsburgh celebrated its championship victory Sunday night. It was a gesture symbolic of the direction the team is going.
Since each NHL franchise can only protect one goalie in this expansion draft Pittsburgh was essentially forced to choose between 32-year-old Fleury and 23-year-old Murray. It was no secret they were going to choose Murray.
In addition to his NMC, Fleury also has a modified no-trade clause where he can be asked to submit a list of 18 teams he’d be willing to be traded to. This means although Vegas is a likely destination, the Pens could also ship him to another city. Fleury has two years remaining on his contract and a cap hit of $5.75 million.
Aaron Ekblad is a no-brainer to protect, which means the Panthers will likely have to choose between Alex Petrovic and Jason Demers if they go the seven forwards, three defencemen route opposed to protecting eight total skaters of any makeup.
According to Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe, the Boston Bruins chose not to ask any of their players to waive a NMC. Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Krejci and David Backes have them.
Jason Pominville‘s status with the Minnesota Wild is up in the air as, according to Michael Russo of the Star Tribune, neither the team nor player will comment on whether he was asked to waive his NMC. Pominville has two years remaining on his deal with a cap hit of $5.6 million. Ryan Suter, Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu also have no-moves.