Hunter Shinkaruk, Emile Poirier will have to be protected for expansion draft

While the expansion draft’s rules have been set, there are still small details trickling in every now and then. And here’s the latest one: Hunter Shinkaruk and Emile Poirier will be eligible to be taken. So should the Flames want to keep them, they must protect them.

This news comes to us via Arthur Staple:

Like Shinkaruk and Poirier, Pulock played in the AHL during the 2014-15 season, even though his entry-level contract slid due to his late-year birthday. That was, technically, his first year of professional experience; the 2015-16 season was his second.

That means the 2016-17 season will be his (and their) third professional season: which makes them eligible to be taken.

Who do the Flames protect?

Well, at least another slot almost certainly got filled up.

Assuming the Flames opt to protect seven forwards, three defencemen, and one goalie, then here’s what the list looks like right now:

Goalie: Brian Elliott.

This assumes an extension. There are still a few problems to be worked out here, however; the Flames still have no goalies under contract for the 2017-18 season, and they need to leave at least one exposed.

Also, while I do not believe we have ever received official confirmation, we don’t think Jon Gillies needs to be protected; while he signed his contract at the end of the 2014-15 season, he played zero professional games, so the 2016-17 season should be considered his second professional year.

Defencemen: Mark Girodano, T.J. Brodie, Dougie Hamilton.

Forwards: Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau, Sam Bennett, Mikael Backlund, Michael Frolik.

That was the original list. Troy Brouwer is probably added to it now, which would leave just one spot open for one more player. And at this point in time, that player is probably Hunter Shinkaruk.

Who is left exposed?

There are still some undesirable contracts left open to Vegas, such as Matt Stajan and Lance Bouma’s. Jyrki Jokipakka is left open, though, because if the Flames want to protect four defencemen, then they can only protect four forwards, which is increasingly shaping up to be a no-go.

Micheal Ferland is also left exposed under this criteria. We’re pretty hopeful he’ll have a good year this year, so that may not be a desirable route to take.

Suddenly, the Flames have just a touch too many bodies to protect – which is kind of the goal of the expansion draft, so that Vegas doesn’t start their existence a total tire fire – and will have some tough decisions ahead, depending on how everyone’s 2016-17 goes.

But with many of us expecting Shinkaruk to play a bigger role in the NHL sooner rather than later, is there any way the Flames don’t protect him? What if Poirier’s bad year was an aberration and he returns to expectations felt this time a year ago, what then?

… What if the Flames think Shinkaruk and Ferland will have stronger seasons in the years to come than Brouwer?

These are all going to be things to keep an eye on through the season. Now, a couple more players will be playing to stay in Calgary – not be left open for Vegas to take.

  • The Fall

    As of today, it’s looking like you’re right: Hunter and Brouwer are the assets to protect. But we are long way from the draft, it’ll be an interesting soap opera this year to see who claws their way into that conversation… Chiasson is my dark horse for this one.

  • piscera.infada

    Barring anything crazy, Brouwer will be protected. It’s bad business to sign a UFA and then leave them unprotected (or ship them out) shortly thereafter. Remember, NHL players are in fact, humans. With free agents, they’ve chosen the organisation just as much as the organisation chose them.

    Moreover, I think the whole protected list, while important, is being blown a little bit out of proportion–especially as it relates to a team like the Flames. They will be able to protect their core, and that’s the most important thing. As the calendar gets closer to the expansion draft, many teams will have a much better idea of what Las Vegas is looking for. Every team will only lose one player. Quite frankly, the ability to protect one periphery player is an absolute luxury considering some of the players that will likely be left unprotected.

    As of right now: Jokipakka probably gets selected by Las Vegas, Ferland is the seventh forward protected (I see a massive bounce back this season, and I would put money that he is a regular on the top line come season’s end (assuming he stays relatively healthy)).

    • KiLLKiND

      You say protect the core and protect Brouwer in the same post…. Shinkaruk and Poirier will be far more likely to be part of the core than Brouwer ever will be. Yes Brouwer is a UFA overpaid signing who has feelings, but this is an expansion draft feelings don’t matter here as it’s a very rare occurrence and should not let our high end prospects leave for nothing just to protect a veteran of the league who understands it’s part of the business. At the very least if he does get claimed at least we set him up with a massive overpay and an extra year of it as well.

      With this new information I doubt Brouwer will be unprotected as losing a 1st round pick after 3 years of playing in the AHL for nothing would be extremely poor asset management. Especially for ones who will most likely see at least 10-20 NHL games this year.

    • freethe flames

      You are extremely optimistic about Ferland. I suspect he will be playing with Backs and Frolik and will find his game there. He may get to be the lW with Bennett; I think he looked more comfortable playing on the LW than RW.

      • piscera.infada

        The simple fact is that aside from shooting at an unsustainably low percentage, all evidence points to the fact that he was the best fit with that line. They generated more and possessed the puck better than with any other “spare” winger last season.

    • ChinookArchYYC

      “Barring anything crazy, Brouwer will be protected. It’s bad business to sign a UFA and then leave them unprotected (or ship them out) shortly thereafter.”

      I expect that player agents would have been interested in negotiating their players ‘protection list status’ this past season. I expect a player newly signed would pay or sell this status withheld their negotiations. In other words, no bad blood is likely, since it was surely discussed already.

      • piscera.infada

        I think you have to assume that wasn’t the case though–or more realistically, that any contract was negotiated with a discussion that the player will be protected. I honestly can’t see the logic in an unrestricted free-agent signing any sort of lengthy deal, under a gentleman’s agreement that god-willing he’ll be somewhere else in less than a calendar year. I don’t know, that just seems odd to me.

        As @Parallex said above though, I will grant that it’s entirely based on this year’s performance. If he entirely bombs (which is what I meant by “barring anything crazy”) of course you expose him, but all things being equal, it’s far more likely than not that he’s protected.

        • ChinookArchYYC

          I see agents negotiating protection list status the same as NMC and NTC. They all have value. In my mind, if something can be commoditized in negotiations, it surely will be.

          • T&A4Flames

            I agree. These guys are professionals at what they do for their clients so I would think that they would consider and discuss this. But, if they were concerned, don’t you think that the agents would have demanded a NMC from the team they signed with in order to ensure they were protected? Unless they got BT to do a gentleman’s agreement that at least in year 1 that Brouwer would be protected.

          • piscera.infada

            I think it’s more simple than that though. If you’re an agent, you’re probably going to say on day one of free agency, that “if you want ‘x’ player, you’ll have to protect them, if not, we will negotiate with other teams that will/can afford him that”.

            This reminds me of the “trade Gio before his NMC kicks in crowd”. Yes, you can do that, but the extension was signed in good faith that an extension presupposes the player will be there when the NMC kicks in.

            As I said, there is a situation where Brouwer’s play craters so much, that the so-called “gentleman’s agreement” is no longer feasible. However in that case, he probably won’t be claimed in an expansion draft, and you’re just going to lose one of Ferland, Poirier, or Shinkaruk anyway (or, again, most likely Jokipakka–which makes this moot again).

          • T&A4Flames

            Yes, I totally agree. I’m sure BT would have wanted protection for himself as well. But like you said, if he plays like crap, he likely wouldn’t get picked up anyway.

      • Greg

        Unlike previous expansions, Vegas is going to be both competitive and a desirable location. I’m sure there’s some players that would be unhappy to go, but there’ll be more than a few who see it as a good opportunity.

    • Parallex

      “Barring anything crazy, Brouwer will be protected. It’s bad business to sign a UFA and then leave them unprotected (or ship them out) shortly thereafter.”

      Meh, I think it depends on how he performs. If Brouwer does his usual performance (or better) then yes he get protected… if he stinks up the joint then I bet he doesn’t. As for who get’s that last F protection slot (I’ll assume that Brouwer Brouwers this year at least)… then it comes down to Shinkaruk or Ferland (may the best man win).

    • SmellOfVictory

      I don’t think it would be that bad if he’s left unprotected a full season after being signed. If he underperforms, given the size of his contract, it would totally make sense from all angles that he is left exposed. Especially if Poirier has a good year in the AHL.

  • KiLLKiND

    I actually really don’t mind this rule at all and hope we protect both Hunter and Emile. This could leave Brouwer unprotected and hopefully he has a fantastic year and gets claimed by Vegas. Vegas will need some veteran leadership and could like Brouwer as he fills that need and is a right winger which are harder to find. Vegas however would most likely be looking for cheap young players such as Ferland, and Jokkipakka.

    • T&A4Flames

      Conversely, Vegas will also likely want some youth mixed in with their vets; guys they could potentially start to build around.

      The other point to remember is if Brouwer has a good season, isn’t a solid RW what we want and need as well?

      • KiLLKiND

        If Brouwer has a good season and gets claimed you should look at the UFA RW’s available next year TJ Oshie is easily the best RW to be availible and with Brouwer, Wideman, and Engelland off the books we can afford an overpay next year.

        I think Vegas will take a mix of vets and young guns, with more young guns than vets. We can only hope they take one of our vets whether it’s Brouwer or Stajan.

        • Parallex

          “and with Brouwer, Wideman, and Engelland off the books we can afford an overpay next year.”

          Not really. Bennett will be off his ELC, Elliot will (hopefully) be looking for a raise based off his performance… if they’re as good as we think they are then that (plus replacement cost for the D) would eat up most of those dollars.

  • freethe flames

    The thing is we can only lose one player in the expansion draft; whose to say that either of them will do enough this year to warrant being picked. Isn’t the mantra build via defenceman and centers first. it is more likely we lose JJ, Tspoon or Kulak than an unproven winger; unless one of them has a break out year and then you hve no choice but protect them.

  • OKG

    Brouwer is interesting due to his familiarity with George McPhee.

    I think from a business perspective Treliving has to see the remaining 3 years at 4.5 Million as a high risk with Brouwer and exposes him. The possible emergence of Poirier could also make Frolik expendable. Neither of those two – 2nd/3rd line veteran wingers – should be innately protected as your Ferland, Shinkaruk, and Poirier have more long term value.

    • cberg

      At this point in time I’d be protecting Frolik and Brouwer as they are both much better players. However, they are also older and your point about LT overall potential and benefit to the team is a good one. Fortunately we have a full year to see how things play out and can make the decision next Spring.

      One thing for sure, there are likely going to be a LOT of disappointed players here and elsewhere that don’t get protected and may feel slighted because of it. This will be something interesting to watch over the year.

      It also means Las Vegas is going to be getting even better players than I was thinking earlier.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Does anyone know if Vegas has to spend to the cap floor?

    Just thinking they’ll have to sign draft pricey vets as well as cheap young ones, in order to be cap compliant.

    Also, is Las Vegas restricted in trading there assets in year 1?

      • T&A4Flames

        I’m pretty sure that they have to reach the floor. Given the solid opportunity the expansion team has been given re; player availability, it only makes sense that they are meant to meet minimum requirements.

        • Baalzamon

          The expansion team DOES NOT have to reach the cap floor, but they do have to reach a certain salary threshold.

          The Las Vegas franchise must select players with an aggregate Expansion Draft value that is between 60-100% of the prior season’s upper limit for the salary cap. With a 2016-17 salary cap of $73M, this means the Expansion Draft selections must amount to a aggregate salary cap value of at least $43.8M.

          The cap floor is about $54,000,000

    • cberg

      I seem to recall (without going and looking it up) that they had to spend to something like 65% of the Cap, and that they could not trade a pick back to their original teams for at least a year….

      a/ Players that equal 60-100% of 2017 Cap of $73…
      b/ Vegas may not buy out any players selected until the Summere following their first year.
      c/ No rules relating to trades of picks, so its wide open there.
      d/ A 2017-18 RFA goalie that has been qualified prior to the Expansion Draft is acceptable. Rittich MIGHT fit this rule if his Czech League years count as Professional years (i.e. his contract qualified as a SPC, or equivalent). The Rules seem unclear on this, although Artemi Panarin is given as an example of someone who would be exempt, a this KHL contracts would not be deemed the same as an SPC, or equivalent.

  • Longshot1977

    I think there is still much movement that can happen here. Much would depend upon Brouwer’s performance. I see 3 scenario’s, all of which could work out well for the Flames.

    If he plays really well, the Flames will likely elect to keep him. No biggie.

    If he’s a disappointment, he can be left unprotected. He either gets taken (unload a crappy contract for nothing; OK!) or he doesn’t (free up a protection spot for a young guy; OK.)

  • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

    Shinkarauk and Poirier are bubble players at best and only 1 player from each team can be picked . There will be better options than them to choose from.

  • TheRealPoc

    Does anyone else think it’s possible that Brouwer received a premium, both in term and AAV, in return for the implicit understanding that he’d be left unprotected this summer?

    Assuming the final $13.5M of Brouwer’s aged 32-34 seasons doesn’t seem like it’d be a slam dunk for LV.

  • T&A4Flames

    I’m not as worried about next years expansion draft as I am for the possible expansion the year after that. The NHL has said that it’s possible they will accept another team after Vegas. At that point, a lot of our high end prospects will have graduated to expansion eligibility.

      • TheRealPoc

        You don’t expand to 31 without the intent of eventually getting to 32. Can’t really see the value in permanently asymmetrical conference sizes.

        It’s going to happen. If the Loonie hadn’t experienced such a steep devaluation, Quebec could’ve already been #32.

        • Greg

          Speaking of symmetry, I think the league is hoping Seattle gets a bid together before the next expansion round to get back to evens on the east-west conferences. It could be a long time before there’s talk of team #33, so there’s going to be pressure to move someone back west if Quebec gets #32, and neither Detroit nor Columbus is going to raise their hand to do it.

          I think Quebec will get a team again, but I’d bet on it happening when a) the loonie recovers and b) an existing eastern team needs a safe landing spot/new arena.

  • Hockeyfan

    Will leaving Troy unprotected really matter? will he even get picked up? it is Poiriers time to shine, if he doesn’t, leave him unprotected. The upcoming season will determine a lot of Tree’s strategy for the exp. draft. Flames are looking pretty good for depth moving forward.

  • Kevin R

    If we have the incredibly good problem that Ferland, Shink & Emile have excellent years we can always negotiate a deal with Vegas to not take them. I think this TDL is going to be really interesting next year as well. I see everyone trying to get value for a decent player they can’t protect. Maybe a nice project for the dog days of summer is trying to project what teams have protection space available. That may be as valuable or even more valuable than cap space next TDL or prior to the expansion draft. It also will probably put a damper on the regular trades made at the TDL(besides the regular rental market for draft picks)

    • T&A4Flames

      What would we have to offer Vegas to NOT take a player we don’t want protected? I would think it would be more valuable than the asset we try to protect in the 1st place, don’t you think?

      Also, how would you plan on utilizing another teams ‘protection’ space? We can’t do a pretend trade because I’m certain there is a rule that was put in that prevents teams from trading back players immediately after the exp. draft (I wish I could find the article I read somewhere).

      I’m not being a jerk, here. I’m seriously curious if you’ve thought or heard of something I haven’t.

      • Kevin R

        It’s all hypothetical but if we have to chose protecting Shink or Ferland but we don’t want to lose either, Vegas can pick someone else & we send a lopsided trade like a prospect or another one of our unprotected players they may want to not pick either of those guys for like their 6th round pick in 2021. I saw that scenario roll out with Pitt if they can’t move Fleury they may have to compensate Vegas significantly. That is also within the rules.

        Well based on teams current lineups now, you can probably do a mock expansion draft of all the teams & who they would protect & see what’s left. A team like the Leafs probably have a lot of protection space available because their more valuable players are primarily draft exempt.

        • Baalzamon

          I think the Flames should just choose their 11 protected players, bite the bullet, and let Vegas take whoever they want. Don’t give up extra assets so Vegas will take player X instead of player Y.

          I agree with the one poster who said they were more concerned about another expansion draft down the line.

        • T&A4Flames

          “Well based on teams current lineups now, you can probably do a mock expansion draft of all the teams & who they would protect & see what’s left. A team like the Leafs probably have a lot of protection space available because their more valuable players are primarily draft exempt.”

          But how does this help the Flames or any other team with protection concerns?

          • Kevin R

            If you have a decent player that has decent value a team knows will get picked off in the expansion draft, they may be able to trade him to try & salvage some value. Teams that have room to protect players like that could pick up some real bargains for 2nd & 3rd round picks. That’s all Im saying, try to salvage some value before they lose the player get SFA.

  • Greg

    One aspect I find interesting is the minimum exposure requirements. Flames should have plenty of forwards who fit the bill, but they currently have 0 goalies and 0 dmen who do. If JJ plays 12 games, he meets the minimum games played requirement, but if he gets a season ending injury in October, the flames will suddenly have to do some work to get another dman under contract for 2017-18.

    On goalies, if Elliot is playing well and you want to resign him, you gotta find a second goalie to sign for 2017-18 as well, with the understanding they are expansion fodder, otherwise you’ll be right back to needing a starter as soon as you sign Elliot. Would definitely make for an interesting negotiation.

  • Druds

    OH NOOOOOO!!!! We have to expose Dumptruck, bag of poo and armpit smell to the draft!…the team will collapse …you Know Vegas is just dying to grab bag of poo!

    Oh man this getting ridiculous …like who gives a damn if career AHLers are taken by Vegas …good riddance!

  • Ari Yanover

    Quick community poll: Do we want Druds and their attempted brand of trolling to stick around or should we pull out warnings/bannings? Props for warnings/bannings, trashes for status quo.

    • supra steve


      If it’s possible to deactivate the “trash/props” when linked to a specific selected poster, that may take away the carrot that some of these posters are chasing. I just skip these posts, never trashing or proping, but I know they always get multiple trashes…which is what they thrive on. Take that option away and that robs them of their prize.

      • Ari Yanover

        I don’t think this is possible, unfortunately.

        Looking at how the poll has gone throughout the day, I guess this is a warning to Druds (and anyone else who wants to follow suit). Dissenting opinions are fine, but if you can’t propose them like an adult, and you have a history of making an ass of yourself in the comments, you’ll be banned.

        Seriously, it’s nice out, find something better to do.

  • The Sultan

    Seriously just ban druds and all the numbers of trains and this place would be 100% better. Some people find it funny, some people ignore it, but the fact of the matter is it’s all those two do is troll on every single Flames post about how bad we are and how great Edmonton is. Nobody cares about their uneducated, no ignorant opinions and you simply cannot allow that trife to continue as it simply derails entire threads and unneccesarily takes away from the point of discussion.

    And if THEY have a problem with it they can email the mods and maybe pass a basic skill testing question before being allowed to post on these boards again.

  • Why is everyone talking about this as if Calgary has the deepest talent pool in the league? LV is gonna take a 3rd or 4th line player. Every other team suffers the same equal fate. And let’s say T.Bro is left unprotected. And let’s say he’s taken. Yay! That was an expensive “free agent frenzy” signing.