With a 31st NHL team announced – the Vegas Golden Knights – expansion draft talk is heating up again. We know that at least one of the Calgary Flames playing on this year’s team will, next season, be wearing a Golden Knights jersey instead.
I say “at least one” because the Flames have a number of free agents, too, that will be eligible to go to Vegas by their own choice. (Deryk Engelland, who has strong ties to Las Vegas, is probably the strongest candidate.)
But otherwise, the Flames will have full control over which players they want to protect.
And I mean full – because they’re one of four teams without a single no-movement clause on their roster at the time the protected list is to be submitted.
Sure, a number of Flames have no-trade clauses – Troy Brouwer, Michael Frolik, Matt Stajan, Kris Versteeg, and Mark Giordano – but the only no-movement clause on this team is Dennis Wideman’s, and he’ll be en route to being a free agent when the expansion draft takes place on June 17, 2017.
And isn’t that a nice thing to note: Wideman is a Jay Feaster signing. Since him, no other player on the Flames has been granted a NMC. The most Brad Treliving has done is give two big free agent signings – Brouwer and Frolik – no-trade clauses (modified, in Frolik’s case), as well as Giordano. Versteeg also ended up with one, but I like to think it’s of the “shh, we won’t make you go back to Edmonton, it’s okay you’re safe now” variety.
So, who gets protected? CapFriendly has a helpful tool to figure it out.
Either it’s seven forwards, three defencemen, and a goalie, or eight skaters and a goalie. The former is much more likely: despite their lacklustre season so far, the Flames have more than four forwards they wouldn’t want to lose.
As things stand right now, this would be my guess at the Flames’ protection list:
- Johnny Gaudreau
- Sean Monahan
- Troy Brouwer
- Michael Frolik
- Mikael Backlund
- Sam Bennett
- Micheal Ferland
- Mark Giordano
- Dougie Hamilton
- T.J. Brodie
- Chad Johnson
It’s a long season, though. Brian Elliott could easily come back and prove to be the favourable goalie over Johnson. Brett Kulak could still find a way to force the Flames’ hands, and make a decision that much tougher. Perhaps Hunter Shinkaruk could do the same, if he really breaks out at some point this season.
Not to mention, there’s always the possibility of the Flames trading for someone else they want to protect – or trading any of these guys, for that matter.
But the main takeaway from all of this: the Flames aren’t handcuffed in the slightest. They have full control over who they want to protect. And that’s good flexibility to have.