Depending on the day and to whom you’re speaking, the NHL is either going to totally expand – at the very least, to Las Vegas – or it’s going to hold off on it for the foreseeable future.
But if the NHL expands, and we suspect it will, one major hurdle towards the executive committee’s approval of it was cleared this week. Gary Lawless of TSN reports that the NHL and the NHLPA have agreed on the framework and format for an expansion draft.
According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, that format includes the protection of seven forwards, three defensemen and a goalie, or eight skaters and a goalie. There’s an exemption for second-year pros, meaning that if the draft is held in 2017 neither Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel would have to be protected.
From Lawless, who believes that the decision on expansion will happen soon:
Time is getting tight for the NHL if it is going to expand. The league has stated if it is going to expand for the 2017-18 season it would have to inform general managers prior to this year’s upcoming entry draft in late June. A source said Friday if expansion is going to move forward, mid-May is the timetable for an announcement.
The 10-member executive committee, should it decide to take an expansion package to the rest of the league’s owners, will need to have a full and complete document for consideration. The rules of the expansion draft will be key to the individual clubs as it will affect their on-ice product. The NHLPA could have made the protracted the process but negotiations between the league and the union last week proved fruitful and an agreement was reached.
One of the mysteries of the expansion draft may have also been solved: How to handle no-move and no-trade clauses.
According to Lawless: "Sources indicate no-moves must be protected by teams. No-trade clauses not exempt and can be left exposed."
Keep in mind that the CBA states that a no-move clause "may prevent the involuntary relocation of a player, whether by trade, loan or waiver claim."
Does that include an expansion draft? “It’s not expressly addressed, is what I’d say,” Bill Daly, NHL deputy commissioner, said at the NHL All-Star Game. “Anything we do on an expansion draft we’ll do in consultation with the NHLPA.”
Obviously this was a compromise. And it's an interesting one for veteran players who see their no-move protection turn into no-trade protection as their deals go on.
Like, for example, New York Rangers defenseman and salary albatross Dan Girardi, who goes from NMC to NTC in 2017. The thought is that he would NOT be exposed, as the expansion draft would take place before July 1, 2017.
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