The expansion draft in June to stock the new NHL team in Seattle no doubt had a chilling effect on general managers across the league before Monday’s trade deadline. Before bringing in a player, they had to consider whether they could protect him from Kraken general manager Ron Francis.
Bruins GM Don Sweeney certainly considered the implications before trading for Taylor Hall, Curtis Lazar, and Mike Reilly.
Let’s reset the Bruins’ expansion outlook after the deadline:
Not in play
Three Bruins are off-limits. Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and Charlie Coyle have no-movement clauses in their contracts, so they are exempt.
Four other young standouts — David Pastrnak, Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, and Matt Grzelcyk — are certain to be protected. All are in their primes and signed to reasonable contracts. Carlo will be a restricted free agent. If he is left unprotected, Seattle could select him and own the right to sign him.
Several other players will be unrestricted free agents this summer, and will not be part of the expansion draft. That list includes winger Hall, acquired Monday from the Sabres, and defenseman Reilly. It also includes center David Krejci, goalies Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak, and depth players Sean Kuraly, Kevan Miller, Steven Kampfer, Jarred Tinordi, and Anton Blidh.
The Bruins are unlikely to sign any of their UFAs before Seattle makes its picks.
Additionally, first- and second-year pros are exempt. That means Jeremy Swayman, Jack Studnicka, Jakub Lauko, and Jack Ahcan will not be taken.
The Bruins can protect one goalie. Dan Vladar would be the choice.
Those in play
Among the eligible forwards, should the Bruins opt not to protect them, are Jake DeBrusk, Craig Smith, Lazar, Chris Wagner, and Karson Kuhlman.
On defense: Jakub Zboril, Jeremy Lauzon, Connor Clifton, Urho Vaakanainen, and John Moore.
Since restricted free agents are eligible, forwards Nick Ritchie, Ondrej Kase, Trent Frederic, and Zach Senyshyn could be taken if unprotected.
The Bruins have to make one goalie under contract available. That would be taxi squadder Callum Booth.
The game plan
Teams can protect seven forwards, three defenseman, and one goalie (7-3-1), or eight skaters and a goalie (8-1).
Had the Bruins added a top-four defenseman with time remaining on his contract at the deadline, they might have used an 8-1 protection scheme (four forwards, four defensemen, and a goalie).
Now it looks like a 7-3-1 is the move for Sweeney. With four obvious forwards protected (Marchand, Bergeron, Coyle, Pastrnak), three more spots are open.
It appears DeBrusk, Smith, Ritchie, and Frederic would be the most deserving candidates for the three spots. One of those four or Lazar would be an enticing forward for the Kraken.
The newcomers from the Northwest could also take a hard-edged young defenseman like Lauzon, or an energetic defender on a cheap contract (Clifton, signed for $1 million a year through 2023).
Projected Bruins protected list (7-3-1)
Brad Marchand, LW*
Patrice Bergeron, C*
Charlie Coyle, C*
David Pastrnak, RW
Nick Ritchie, LW
Craig Smith, RW
Jake DeBrusk, LW
Charlie McAvoy, D
Brandon Carlo, D
Matt Grzelcyk, D
Dan Vladar, G