Official NHL expansion draft exempt list contains surprises

Vegas Golden Knights GM George McPhee discusses how the logo and team name came about, including why they decided to drop the ‘Las,’ also discusses the franchise’s strategy for building an immediate winner.

The Vegas Golden Knights officially have a name and they’re starting to get a better sense of who will be off limits when the expansion draft is conducted in June.

Sportsnet has obtained a memo distributed from the NHL to its 30 teams on Tuesday night, which outlines the 66 players currently considered exempt from the expansion process because of no-move clauses. (The full list of 66 players can be read below)

The list was finalized after the league reviewed the parameters of each individual contract with the NHL Players’ Association.

A blanket rule couldn’t be applied to all cases because the way those clauses are worded is 100 per cent negotiable. Some expire midway through the contract or become a no-trade clause at a certain point in time.

The list of exempt players includes a handful of surprising omissions and inclusions as a result.

For example, veteran winger Rick Nash is required to be protected by the New York Rangers. He’s been a popular player to expose in mock drafts conducted by users of capfriendly.com or the (now defunct) generalfanger.com site because of the Rangers cap situation and the fact Nash is due to carry a $7.8-million cap hit next season.

However, the language in the contract he signed with Columbus on July 3, 2009 stipulated that he maintained the no-move aspect of the deal when it came to being waived or loaned (and ultimately exposed for expansion, under the NHL’s new interpretation) even though his full no-trade clause was downgraded to a 12-team list in June 2015.

Some players narrowly missed the cut-off.

Anaheim Ducks centre Antoine Vermette and Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask each hold no-move clauses that run until June 15, 2017 – just two days before each team must submit a list of protected players. That makes them eligible to be exposed (although, in Rask’s case, it’s virtually guaranteed not to happen). Arizona Coyotes goalie Mike Smith saw his no move expire last June and falls into the same category.

There is a scenario where Ottawa Senators winger Bobby Ryan can also be exposed to Vegas. When he signed a $50.75-million, seven-year extension in October 2014, it was widely reported that his contract included a no-move clause, but the language in that deal actually stipulates no movement to the minors and gives him a modified no-trade list, according to a source.

Carolina Hurricanes centre Jordan Staal, meanwhile, is exempt from the expansion draft process thanks to a no-movement component in his deal that had previously gone unreported.

There are bound to be some changes to the list before the 72-hour expansion draft begins on June 17. New contracts will be signed, a handful of injured players will be exempted – i.e. New Jersey’s Ryane Clowe, Toronto’s Nathan Horton and Columbus’ David Clarkson – and some may choose to waive their no-move clause in order to be exposed to Vegas.

With that in mind, here’s the full list of players who are currently required to be protected by their teams in the expansion draft:

Anaheim (4)
Kevin Bieksa
Ryan Getzlaf
Ryan Kesler
Corey Perry

Arizona (1)
Alex Goligoski

Boston (4)
David Backes
Patrice Bergeron
Zdeno Chara
David Krejci

Buffalo (1)
Kyle Okposo

Carolina (1)
Jordan Staal

Columbus (5)
Sergei Bobrovsky
David Clarkson
Brandon Dubinsky
Nick Foligno
Scott Hartnell

Chicago (8)
Artem Anisimov
Corey Crawford
Niklas Hjalmarsson
Marian Hossa
Patrick Kane
Duncan Keith
Brent Seabrook
Jonathan Toews

Colorado (2)
Francois Beauchemin
Erik Johnson

Dallas (2)
Jamie Benn
Jason Spezza

Detroit (1)
Frans Nielsen

Edmonton (3)
Milan Lucic
Andrej Sekera
Cam Talbot

Florida (1)
Keith Yandle

Los Angeles (1)
Anze Kopitar

Minnesota (4)
Mikko Koivu
Zach Parise
Jason Pominville
Ryan Suter

Montreal (2)
Jeff Petry
Carey Price

Nashville (1)
Pekka Rinne

New Jersey (1)
Ryane Clowe

N.Y. Islanders (3)
Johnny Boychuk
Andrew Ladd
John Tavares

N.Y. Rangers (4)
Dan Girardi
Henrik Lundqvist
Rick Nash
Marc Staal

Ottawa (1)
Dion Phaneuf

Philadelphia (1)
Claude Giroux

Pittsburgh (5)
Sidney Crosby
Marc-Andre Fleury
Phil Kessel
Kris Letang
Evgeni Malkin

Tampa Bay (4)
Ryan Callahan
Valtteri Filppula
Victor Hedman
Steven Stamkos

Toronto (1)
Nathan Horton

Vancouver (3)
Loui Eriksson
Daniel Sedin
Henrik Sedin

Winnipeg (2)
Dustin Byfuglien
Toby Enstrom

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Teams without any players that they’re required to protect: Calgary, San Jose, St. Louis, Washington.