Last, but certainly not least, today I’ll be looking at the Metropolitan Division Protection Lists ahead of the Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft. The Metro was the only division of the four where I felt every team would opt for the 7-3-1 protection route, though despite all those protected forwards, there will still be prime options for the Kraken to pounce on.

On Friday, I’ll be posting the full Mock Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft Roster, along with an analysis of each player selection. If you missed any of the other divisions, you can find them linked at the bottom of the page.

Once again, thank you to CapFriendly for their help in putting this project together. CapFriendly is a free-to-use site with many great resources such as salary tracking, buyout calculations, a mock expansion draft simulator, trade proposal forums, and much more. After reading this article, go check them out!

Here are the Metro protection lists:

Carolina Hurricanes

 

Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft

 

FORWARDS
DEFENSEMEN
GOALTENDERS
Jordan Staal **Brett PesceAlex Nedeljkovic
Sebastian AhoBrady Skjei
Morgan GeekieJaccob Slavin
Nino Niederreiter
Andrei Svechnikov
Teuvo Teräväinen
Vincent Trocheck

 

** = player has an NMC and must be protected

 

Carolina has such a talented roster that they’re going to lose a good player to Seattle no matter what. Even better for the Kraken, the Hurricanes have forwards, defensemen, and even a goaltender available who could all fit into the top six forwards, top four defense, or start in net immediately.

Jordan Staal requires protection due to his no-movement clause (NMC). Sebastian Aho, Andrei Svechnikov, and Teuvo Teräväinen are also locks. Given their roles on the team, Nino Niederreiter and Vincent Trocheck are likely to be protected as well, as we saw how much Carolina struggled against Tampa Bay without the netfront presence Niederreiter and Trocheck provide.

For the last spot, Morgan Geekie gets the nod over Warren Foegele. Both are restricted free agents (RFAs), but Geekie is three years younger. He also plays center while Foegele is a winger.

On the defensive side, I’ve got Carolina protecting Brett Pesce, Brady Skjei, and Jaccob Slavin to keep their top end intact. The Hurricanes are continuing to negotiate a contract extension with upcoming unrestricted free agent (UFA) Dougie Hamilton. But even if they can’t get a deal done, Carolina has a loaded pipeline of defensemen and will still be a capable unit if even Hamilton hits free agency.

Notable Exposed Players: Foegele, Hamilton (UFA), Jake Gardiner, Jake Bean (RFA), Petr Mrázek (UFA), Brock McGinn (UFA), Jordan Martinook (UFA), Jani Hakanpää (UFA).

 

Columbus Blue Jackets Protection List

 

Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft

 

FORWARDS
DEFENSEMEN
GOALTENDERS
Cam AtkinsonSeth JonesJoonas Korpisalo
Oliver BjorkstrandVladislav Gavrikov
Max DomiZach Werenski
Boone Jenner
Patrik Laine
Gustav Nyquist
Jack Roslovic

 

Columbus’ protection list hinges entirely on whether or not the Blue Jackets are able to trade defenseman Seth Jones ahead of the Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft. Jones has expressed he does not intend to re-sign with the Blue Jackets when his contract is up following the 2021-22 season. As such, Columbus is trying to strike a trade so he doesn’t walk for free.

Should Columbus get a deal done, I would expect Dean Kukan to slide into Jones’ protection spot.

There shouldn’t be any surprises in the forward group, though after missing all of last season, Columbus could opt to expose Gustav Nyquist and protect another winger, such as Eric Robinson or Kevin Stenlund, though Nyquist is the more sensible pick.

Notable Exposed Players: Kukan, Stenlund, Robinson, Michael Del Zotto, Zac Dalpe.

 

New Jersey Devils Protection List

 

Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft

 

FORWARDS
DEFENSEMEN
GOALTENDERS
Jesper BrattWill ButcherMackenzie Blackwood
Nico HischierDamon Severson
Andreas JohnssonJonas Siegenthaler
Janne Kuokkanen
Yegor Sharangovich
Miles Wood
Pavel Zacha

 

New Jersey has been a rebuilder in recent years, and as such, several key young players such as Jack Hughes, Jesper Boqvist, and Ty Smith are all exempt from exposure. Because of those protection, the Devils will be able to keep most of their 2021 roster together while continuing the rebuild.

In this Mock Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft, I opted to leave defenseman P.K. Subban exposed. While Subban’s play has fallen off a bit from his days in Montreal and Nashville, he is still a quality blueliner. But at age 32 and with a $9 million cap hit next season, it’s hard to imagine Seattle would take on that much salary when they could get similar production at a lesser price elsewhere.

The Devils may not make the playoffs in 2021-22, but with the fourth overall pick this year (and Jack Hughes’ brother Luke looking like an excellent option), New Jersey is headed in the right direction.

Notable Exposed Players: Subban, Scott Wedgewood, Michael McLeod, Connor Carrick (UFA), Ryan Murray (UFA).

EDITOR’S NOTE: Late Thursday night, the Devils traded for Colorado Avalanche defenseman Ryan Graves. Graves is good enough to be  a top-pairing defenseman for New Jersey and will take a spot on the list. Damon Severson and Jonas Siegenthaler will likely get the last two protection spots, leaving Will Butcher exposed.

 

New York Islanders Protection List

 

Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft

 

FORWARDS
DEFENSEMEN
GOALTENDERS
Josh BaileyScott MayfieldSemyon Varlamov
Mathew BarzalAdam Pelech
Anthony BeauvillierRyan Pulock
Jordan Eberle
Anders Lee
Brock Nelson
Jean-Gabriel Pageau

 

The Islanders are going to be up against the salary cap nearly however they approach the Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft. New York has roughly $4.4 million in cap room to fill two forward spots, two defense spots, and a need to pay rookie RFA goaltender Ilya Sorokin (Sorokin does not require protection, as he is not eligible for exposure).

It’s possible New York throws a draft pick or two in Seattle’s direction to encourage the Kraken to take defenseman Nick Leddy, who would clear $5.5 million in cap room. Leddy would be one of the better defensive options available, but at that price, the Kraken may look for a deal elsewhere.

However, as I laid out in the beginning of this exercise, I won’t be planning trades for picks or prospects to encourage Seattle selections (though this is absolutely a situation where I could see it, and I’m fully prepared to get this prediction “wrong” when the Islanders opt to throw in sweeteners to the Kraken for some cap relief).

Notable Exposed Players: Leddy, Kiefer Bellows, Otto Koivula, Cal Clutterbuck, Leo Komarov, Casey Cizikas (UFA).

 

New York Rangers Protection List

 

Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft

 

FORWARDS
DEFENSEMEN
GOALTENDERS
Chris Kreider **Jacob Trouba **Alexandar Georgiev
Artemi Panarin **Libor Hájek
Mika Zibanejad **Ryan Lindgren
Pavel Buchnevich
Filip Chytil
Brett Howden
Ryan Strome

 

** = player has an NMC and must be protected

 

Like their rivals across the state line, the Rangers are also rebuilding, but are a bit further down the line than the Devils. New York has quite a few key assets who won’t be eligible for exposure, such as Alexis Lafrenière, Kaapo Kakko, Adam Fox, K’Andre Miller, and Igor Shesterkin.

However, the Rangers have been heavily linked to Jack Eichel as a trade target. While it would be somewhat surprising to see the Buffalo Sabres trade their star center to another Eastern Conference team, let alone an in-state rival, New York is one of the few teams with the assets to send, the cap room to make a deal work, an open playoff window, and a roster that wouldn’t be completely destroyed by trading for Eichel.

I’ve written previously that I don’t think Eichel would get traded before the Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft, but if he does, New York is the frontrunner in my mind, which would naturally shake this protection list up dramatically.

Notable Exposed Players: Kevin Rooney, Colin Blackwell, Tony DeAngelo, Julien Gauthier.

 

Philadelphia Flyers Protection List

 

Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft

 

FORWARDS
DEFENSEMEN
GOALTENDERS
Claude Giroux **Philippe MyersCarter Hart
Kevin Hayes **Ivan Provorov
Sean CouturierTravis Sanheim (RFA)
Travis Konecny
Scott Laughton
Oskar Lindblom
Nolan Patrick (RFA)

 

** = player has an NMC and must be protected

 

Philadelphia was seriously underwhelming in 2021. After taking the top spot in the 2019-20 regular season and advancing to the second round of the playoffs, the Flyers missed the playoffs altogether in 2021.

Perhaps in need of a roster shakeup, the Flyers are leaving several key players exposed while protecting some of the younger options in Oskar Lindblom and Nolan Patrick, though Patrick has been the subject of trade rumors in recent weeks. At 22 years old, Patrick is still very early in his career, but he has already missed significant time with a migraine disorder (which is not hockey-related).

Defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere is likely to be exposed and he has played fewer than 20 minutes per game each of the past three seasons. He may be in need of a change of scenery, and Seattle could use a former 65-point scorer on the blueline.

Notable Exposed Players: Gostisbehere, Jakub Voráček, James van Riemsdyk, Nicolas Aubé-Kubel.

Pittsburgh Penguins Protection List

 

Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft

 

FORWARDS
DEFENSEMEN
GOALTENDERS
Sidney Crosby **Kris Letang **Casey DeSmith
Evgeni Malkin **Brian Dumoulin
Teddy BluegerMark Friedman
Jeff Carter
Jake Guentzel
Kasperi Kapanen
Bryan Rust

 

** = player has an NMC and must be protected

 

Penguins fans will either absolutely love or absolutely hate what this protection list looks like, but there’s a good amount of logic behind these protection decisions.

Teddy Blueger gets one of the final protection spots following his contract extension on Wednesday. Jeff Carter earns a spot as well, given his veteran leadership, goal-scoring ability, and the lineup versatility he brings, bouncing around between center and wing.

Mark Friedman gets the third defensive spot, knowing Kris Letang and Brian Dumoulin are locked in as Pittsburgh’s top pairing for the foreseeable future. While there could be a case for Michael Matheson, Marcus Pettersson, or even Juuso Riikola, Friedman is a younger option, a right-shot defenseman, and a player who is well-liked by general manager Ron Hextall (though that’s not to say any of the others are unliked). Rob Rossi of The Athletic says their relationship goes back to both of their days with the Flyers, and that familiarity could be enough to tip the scales in Friedman’s favor.

Casey DeSmith gets the protection spot over Tristan Jarry because of his lower cap hit. After a solid season, Jarry fell apart in the playoffs. He’s been inconsistent and may not be the long-term answer in net for Pittsburgh. Exposing Jarry carries little risk and just might motivate Jarry enough to prove he is a goaltender capable of winning a playoff series, something the Penguins haven’t done since the 2017-18 season. I don’t necessarily think it will happen, but Jarry could be selected in the Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft.

Notable Exposed Players: Jarry, Matheson, Pettersson, Riikola, Jason Zucker, Brandon Tanev.

 

Washington Capitals Protection List

 

Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft

 

FORWARDS
DEFENSEMEN
GOALTENDERS
Nicklas Backstrom **John CarlsonIlya Samsonov
Carl EllerDmitry Orlov
Evgeny KuznetsovJustin Schultz
Anthony Mantha
T.J. Oshie
Connor Sheary
Tom Wilson

 

** = player has an NMC and must be protected

 

Though it may seem surprising Alexander Ovechkin isn’t on this list, Ovechkin is a UFA. By not protecting Ovechkin for the Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft, the Capitals can protect an extra forward during the expansion draft, then re-sign their captain after Seattle takes their pick of the litter. Ovechkin wants to be in D.C. for the rest of his career, and he’s going the unselfish teammate route to allow the extra protection before re-signing.

There was some discussion T.J. Oshie may ask to be exposed as well after the past few years of playoff futility since the Cup win, but I’d be quite surprised if that happens at this point.

Instead, the big talker for Washington’s protection list is which goaltender they choose to expose. Ilya Samsonov is an RFA and will need to be re-signed, while Vítek Vaněček becomes an RFA after the 2021-22 season. That extra year of team control could be enough to tip things back towards Vaněček, and (SPOILER ALERT FOR TOMORROW’S PIECE), I think the Kraken will take whichever goaltender the Capitals leave exposed.

Notable Exposed Players: Vaněček, Carl Hagelin, Daniel Sprong, Michal Kempny, Axel Jonsson-Fjällby.

 

Be sure to check back and see which players I’m projecting will be selected in the Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft!

In Case You Missed It

 

To see the Pacific Division Protection List: Click Here.

To see the Central Division Protection List: Click Here.

To see the Atlantic Division Protection List: Click Here.

To see the full Seattle Kraken Roster Projection: Click Here.

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Dan Bradley is a hockey broadcaster and sportswriter originally from New Brighton, MN and currently living in Cincinnati. Dan graduated from Bradley University in Peoria, IL, with a B.S. in Sports Communication in 2014. He previously worked in television in Duluth, MN, as well as in youth and adult sports administration in St. Paul. When not watching or writing about sports, Dan enjoys making music, fishing, and watching Jeopardy, where he hopes to someday be a contestant.

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