Report: NHL expanding to Las Vegas as early as 2017-18

There’s been a lot of expansion talk over the last little while, and for good reason: because it’s happening. Las Vegas is expected to become the 31st NHL city as early as the 2017-18 season, according to the Associated Press.

So far Vegas is the only one getting an expansion team, which would leave the NHL with an odd number – but we have the CFL up here, we’re used to that already.

Vegas is in the Pacific time zone, so the expansion team would almost certainly be joining the Flames’ division, bringing the Pacific Division up to eight teams.

Then, there’s the matter of the expansion draft.

What are the protection guidelines?

Via Sportsnet (beware the autoplay video):

  • Teams can protect seven forwards, three defencemen, and one goalie.
  • Players with no-movement clauses must be protected, unless they are expiring prior to 2017-18 (i.e. the Flames don’t have to protect Dennis Wideman).
  • Teams can, however, ask players to waive their no-movement clauses for the draft.
  • At least two forwards and one defenceman left exposed must have played either 40 games the previous season, or 70 over the previous two. These players must also still be under contract for 2017-18.
  • Players with two years of professional experience or fewer do not have to be protected. A year burned off of an ELC counts as a year of professional experience, as do years spent in the AHL (barring 18 and 19-year-olds). Players like Jon Gillies and Oliver Kylington won’t need protection.
  • Players traded in the lead up to the 2017 draft cannot be traded back to their old teams until Jan. 1, 2018. This is to prevent “hiding” players. (i.e. No, Pittsburgh, you can’t trade Matt Murray to Calgary for a favour and then get him back right after – if he comes here he’d be staying here.)
  • If there’s only one expansion team, each existing franchise will lose only one player.

Who should the Flames protect?

  • Goalie: ??? This will probably be decided whenever the Flames, uh, actually get one.
  • Defencemen: Mark Giordano, T.J. Brodie, Dougie Hamilton. Barring an exciting new acquisition this isn’t even a debate.
  • Forwards: Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Sam Bennett, Mikael Backlund, Michael Frolik, and two others. Maybe Micheal Ferland, or perhaps even a new acquisition.

Who should the Flames leave exposed?

With the new provision that players of notable experience still under contract be left available to Las Vegas, the Flames have a potential “get out of jail free” card at their disposal.

At present time, there are two not-ideal forward contracts on the Flames signed through the 2017-18 season: Matt Stajan and Lance Bouma. Both can certainly play at the NHL level, but neither is exactly crucial to team success, and both are overpaid. It does mean the Flames may have to hold onto them through the 2016-17 season, especially if much of the rest of the forward roster is filled with players who won’t have to be protected (a legitimate possibility; this is a very young team) – but that’s hardly a bad thing, as both can still actually contribute.

What about the defence? The big three are off the table, but the Flames don’t have any other defenders signed into 2017-18. That obviously won’t be the case this time a year from now, though. If, say, Jyrki Jokipakka is re-signed, he could be the Flames’ candidate to fulfill the veteran availability requirement on the blueline.

    • Ari Yanover

      I do not believe he does – 2016-17 will be the second year of his ELC, so by the CBA’s definition, it should be his second year of professional experience.

      Normally, in 2014-15, Shinkaruk would have had to go back to the WHL – except his October birthday enabled him to bypass the CHL-NHL agreement and play in the AHL. However, that year in the AHL did not count against his NHL contract.

      Emile Poirier falls in the exact same situation.

  • Backburner

    I wonder if Carolina’s situation will potentially effect this decision.. if they will end up relocating to Vegas instead, or if they expand to Vegas, maybe Carolina relocates to Quebec?

    Does anyone know if the second team in Toronto still dead in the water?

  • BlueMoonNigel

    Guaranteed that the winner of the “name the team” contest won’t be a name that is related to gambling or wagering or the mob. Let’s celebrate the colourful history of Vegas by covering it up with a veil of political correctness.

    My name choices in no particular order:

    Las Vegas Gamblers

    Las Vegas High Rollers

    Las Vegas Black Jacks

    Las Vegas Armed Bandits

    Las Vegas Bank Breakers

    Las Vegas Aces

    Las Vegas Cement Skates

    Las Vegas Bugs

      • BlueMoonNigel

        That’s just the name of the syndicate working to bring the team to Vegas. In racially-sensitive America, no major pro sports team that caters to a predominantly white crowd will use a name that contains “Black” as it immediately becomes a lightning rod for racial disharmony and discord. Shining Knights would work but Black Knights or White Knights would be live grenades for many who are passionate about such things.

  • Thunder1

    I, like many I’m sure, will thoroughly enjoy the first Saturday mornin’ red eye to Vegas to watch the Flames play that night. Even if I get home a little worse for wear on Sunday, I’ll be happier than Monahan was when Johnny asked him to be BFF’s.

    • Baalzamon

      Yes, Stajan has a No Trade Clause. No, that does not put him on the protected list. You’re thinking of a No Move Clause. Trade protection does not apply to the expansion draft. Movement protection (ie. waivers) does.

      • The GREAT Walter White

        I hope you are right!!!!

        That makes no sense though; you are saying a player with a no-trade clause CAN NOT decide which NHL team he plays for during an expansion draft.

        But a player with waiver protection CAN choose which NHL team he plays for during an expansion draft…..?!

        Counter intuitive……


        • T&A4Flames

          Its not waiver protection clause, it’s a No Move clause. Meaning a team can’t trade or waive him to go to the minors or get picked up by another club. It’s a step above the NTC.

        • Baalzamon

          Counter intuitive? Not at all. No Trade Clause is exactly what the name says it is. No Trades. An expansion draft isn’t a trade.

          Edit- a player on a NTC can be waived and demoted (or bought out) without permission. Any player on waivers can be claimed. The NTC doesn’t protect against waiver claims, so why should it protect against an expansion draft claim?

          • The GREAT Walter White

            An expansion draft is a lot more like a “trade” than it is like being sent to the minors (theoretically…).

            If the difference between a no-trade and a no- movement clause is that you can’t get sent to the minors/exposed to waivers on a no-movement, why don’t they just transfer that “not being sent to the minors” piece to his new expansion team?

            A player signs a no-trade clause so that he has control over what NHL team he plays for, that should be honoured in an expansion draft.


          • Baalzamon

            Again, why? The NTC doesn’t protect against getting claimed by another team off waivers. An expansion draft is far more similar to a waiver claim than it is to a trade.

            In the end, what we think is irrelevant. The NMC is protected. The NTC isn’t. End of story.

      • madjam

        Both have to be protected unless a player and agent waive their rights , which I doubt will happen . That’s my interpretation of the rules. Only way that might change is if players contract expires at end of next year like Ference does for Oilers .

        If a player has a NMC into 2017-18 he has to be protected , just as Bettman said . No if’s ands or butts . Read it for yourself .

          • madjam

            Once again , they both have to be protected because of the CBA with the players . That is why Bettman says both will have to be protected unless one waives that right afforded by the CBA contract or contract expires at end of next year . Stajan is even mentioned in a column by columnist
            Larkin of Toronto.

            It makes sense for league to make sure both are protected in line with the CBA rules and the contracts signed .

          • madjam

            Read the article June 7/2016 by Larry Brooks stating the same basically as what I have been telling you all along . They have to be (Stajan) protected if their contract does not expire next year . End of conversation .

          • Baalzamon

            Hilariously, that article supports me, not you.

            Read for yourself:

            Read this tidbit:

            That means that players whose no-move clauses (or contracts) that expire at the end of 2016-17 would not have to be protected.

            That class of players would include Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi, whose no-move clause will become a modified no-trade clause as of July 1, 2017; Lightning goalie Ben Bishop, who is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on that date; and Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman, whose no-move and contract both expire after next season.

            Thanks for proving my point for me, though.

          • madjam

            As per June 10/2016 article by James Mirtle on expansion rules : ..”must protect players with no movement clauses active in 2017- 18 , This in addition to previous rules ” . If Stajan contract into 2017-18 , he must be protected .

          • Baalzamon

            As per June 10/2016 article by James Mirtle on expansion rules : ..”must protect players with no movement clauses active in 2017- 18 , This in addition to previous rules ” . If Stajan contract into 2017-18 , he must be protected .

            STAJAN DOESN’T HAVE A NO MOVEMENT CLAUSE. He has a No TRADE Clause which, according to the other article you cited, DOES NOT NEED TO BE PROTECTED. It was literally stated in that article that Girardi didn’t need to be protected because his NMC turns into a NTC on July 1 2017.

          • madjam

            As per Chris Johnson June10th as well on expansion.

            ” Players holding no – movement clauses- including the modified by limited no-trade , count against protection limit , as long as they extend thru 2017-18″. A no trade clause is same as the other in regards to expansion .

            As per Flames salary site : Stajan has a M-NTC extending thru 2017-18 .

          • Baalzamon

            Players holding no-movement clauses- including the modified by limited no-trade.

            Players holding no-movement clauses

            Players holding no-movement clauses

            Stajan doesn’t have a no-movement clause. How many times do I have to tell you that before it sinks in?

            According to the other article you posted Dan Girardi DOES NOT need to be protected IN SPITE of his no trade clause. Because his No Movement Clause expires before the 2017/2018 season. And a No Movement Clause is something Stajan does not have.

          • Greatsave

            If you’re going to “quote” Chris Johnson [sic] then at least actually quote him.

            Per Chris Johns*T*on:

            “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.”

            The example he cites, Fleury, has an NMC with a limited NTC; Stajan, on the other hand, has a modified NTC only. Not the same thing.

      • freethe flames

        So if I’m understanding this right then we could expose Gio, Dougie and Stajan but not MAF if we acquired him. I’m not saying we would expose Gio or Dougie but we could. Let’s say the league decides to add the 32 team in 2/3 years down the road it might be an option.

  • freethe flames

    Just read on Flames from 80 about the Flames injury report. Smid is still injured and therefore not able to be bought out, JJ(you can call him Kevin if you wish)is recovering from surgery, Wides has completely recovered, Gilles is back fully training and should be here for development camp and Ramo is healing form his surgery on schedule.

    Here’s hoping Smid does the right thing for his health and retires, then let’s hope the Flames do the right thing and find him a nice cushy job. LTIR helps Smid but does nothing for the Flames during the offseason.

    I really wonder what Wide’s value is? I expect trying to move him has been on BT list. Listening to BT talk about trades the other day was quite interesting as he said that sometimes a trade that was discussed a year ago that fell through sometimes returns when you least expect it. I wonder how much truth there was in the Boston rumours for Wides before his suspension.What would be an acceptable deal with the Bruins?Personally I think there a number of teams that could use Wide’s as their third pairing defender and on their second PP; but not at over $5m- the Flames would need to eat a good portion of his salary or sweeten the pot with a draft pick.

    • MattyFranchise

      This is something a lot people aren’t considering. An expansion team still has to meet a cap floor. Whether it’s the current salaray cap floor or an expansion cap floor, I’m not sure. But there are a lot of good but overpaid players out there.

      Personally, when it comes to the Flames, if an expansion was going to claim a decent player for salary purposes I think Stajan would be a good choice.

  • madjam

    Here is another rule that might effect you in the draft .”…, you must expose 2 more Forwards and 1 more Defenseman that have played 40 games the previous year and 70 the last two seasons and must have a signed contract 2017-18 ” . Not sure how that’s going to hit teams . This is all on the Oiler site by Chris the Intern if you care to scrutinize it .

  • Fat Tony

    Not sure how I feel about the LV Black Knights (If that is what they are going with).

    I think we can come up with something better.

    Las Vegas Hookers?? (It has 2 meanings obviously)

    Anyone else?