For a League that hasn’t formally declared that it’s expanding, there’s sure been a lot of groundwork laid for a potential NHL expansion draft, huh?
We’ll find out before the NHL Awards on June 22 if the Board of Governors approves Las Vegas for a new franchise, with Quebec City basically stating they’re a relocation spot recently. But in the meantime, the rules for the draft that could accompany expansion have been fine-tuned, according to Chris Johnston of Sportsnet and James Mirtle of the Globe & Mail.
While we’ve known much of the details for weeks, a few new tidbits from the report
* There is an “experience criteria” for the draft. “A minimum of two forwards and one defenseman must be exposed who have played 40 games the previous season, or a total of 70 over the previous two,” writes Johnston. In addition, those players must be under contract for the team’s first season.
This is obviously an insurance policy against teams playing games by exposing only players with little experience in the draft while protecting all its veterans.
* According to Johnston, “Players holding no-movement clauses – including those modified by limited no-trades, such as Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury – count against the protection limit, provided that those contracts and clauses extend through the 2017-18 season.”
Fleury’s deal is a bit of a hybrid, in the sense that his limited no-move clause prevents his being demoted or waived while his limited no-trade addresses the places where he could be traded. In the even there’s a player with that kind of deal, apparently they have to be protected.
(Keep in mind that if the Penguins have to protect Fleury, Matt Murray’s status will be determined by how the NHL defines “pros.” Do they mean first or second-year NHL players, or will AHL experience count? If so, then Murray would potentially be exposed.)
* Mirtle reports that “teams cannot reacquire players they trade after Jan. 1, 2017 prior to Jan. 1, 2018. In other words, no handshake agreements to stash away players with other franchises to hide them from the expansion draft, which is the kind of loophole you have to close as long as Lou Lamoriello walks this Earth.
* Mirtle also reports that the draft lottery rules have been established for Las Vegas, uh, the “expansion team” for the 2017 draft. “The expansion team will be given the same draft lottery odds as the team that finishes third last in the league and cannot pick later than sixth in the 2017 NHL entry draft. It’s possible the expansion team could end up with the first overall pick, if it wins the lottery.”
Keep in mind that in the past, before the draft lottery, teams were just gifted a high pick, usually No. 2 overall.
* Finally, Johnston solves an expansion draft mystery: “Teams will also be permitted to ask players to waive their no-movement clauses for inclusion in the expansion draft.”
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