Photo Credit: John Hefti/USA Today Sports

Let’s talk about the expansion draft

Friends, we’re about a year out from the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft. In about a year, the Seattle Grinders (or Kraken or Whatevers) will join the league and grab a player from each of the first 30 clubs involved. (Vegas is exempt.)

How prepared are the Calgary Flames for expansion?

To be eligible for selection or exposure, players need to have completed three pro seasons under an NHL contract prior to the expansion draft.


Exposure Requirement: One goaltender who is under contract in 2021-22 or will be a restricted free agent at the expiration of his current contract immediately prior to 2021-22. If the club elects to make a restricted free agent goaltender available in order to meet this requirement, that goaltender must have received his qualifying offer prior to the submission of the club’s protected list.

Protection Options: Teams can protect one goaltender.

Exempt Players: Artyom Zagidulin, Dustin Wolf, Nick Schneider (if he re-signs)

Eligible Players: Nobody

The Flames meet the eligibility requirement by re-signing Tyler Parsons. Even if he only gets a one year deal, he’ll meet the requirement as a pending RFA.


Protection Options: Teams can protect seven forwards and three defensemen or eight skaters of any combination.

Exposure Requirement (Defensemen): One defenseman who is a) under contract in 2021-22 and b) played in 40 or more NHL games the prior season OR played in 70 or more NHL games in the prior two seasons.

Exempt Players: Carl-Johan Lerby, Alexander Yelesin, Colton Poolman, Connor Mackey, Johannes Kinnvall, Juuso Valimaki

Eligible Players: Mark Giordano, Noah Hanifin, Rasmus Andersson, Oliver Kylington (if he re-signs)

The easiest solution for the Flames is to have Kylington play 22 games (to fulfill the experience requirement) and then expose him. Or they can do what they did last time and just sign a Matt Bartkowski-esque journeyman just for the exposure requirement.

Exposure Requirement (Forwards): Two forwards who are a) under contract in 2021-22 and b) played in 40 or more NHL games the prior season OR played in 70 or more NHL games in the prior two seasons.

Exempt Players: Jakob Pelletier, Luke Philp, Eetu Tuulola, Adam Ruzicka, Martin Pospisil, Dmitry Zavgorodniy, Emilio Pettersen

Eligible Players: Matthew Tkachuk, Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Mikael Backlund, Elias Lindholm, Milan Lucic, Sam Bennett, Dillon Dube, Matthew Phillips, and each of Mark Jankowski, Andrew Mangiapane, and Glenn Gawdin (if they re-sign)

The X-factor here is Lucic. If he chooses to waive his no-move clause, the Flames have seven spots and it seems that Bennett, Jankowski and Lucic easily meet the exposure requirements (and allow the Flames to keep Dube and Mangiapane. If not, life gets a little more complicated and the Flames lose out on a potential foundational piece.

In short? The Flames have some work to do, but most of it is pretty routine. Aside from re-signing a few players they don’t need to do a ton of wrangling. If Lucic doesn’t waive, they might lose a significant player. If he waives, they probably won’t lose anybody of massive long-term significance.