2017 NHL Expansion Draft: All About How it Works

May 11, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; General view of the T-Mobile Arena and New York-New York hotel and casino adjacent to the Las Vegas strip. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
May 11, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; General view of the T-Mobile Arena and New York-New York hotel and casino adjacent to the Las Vegas strip. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

The 2017 NHL Expansion Draft takes place between June 17 to 20 with results being announced on June 21. Las Vegas will get 30 players.

The 2017 NHL Expansion Draft is fast approaching. While the Stanley Cup Finals are still in progress, 29 teams (including the expansion Las Vegas Golden Knights) have little else on their minds but the expansion draft.

The 2017 NHL Expansion Draft is a way for the newly-minted Knights to get a team together comprised of NHL-worthy players. Here’s what Bob McKenzie of TSN had to say about that:

The league devised a system of letting teams protect players so the expansion team doesn’t just select a clutch of superstars.

Protected Lists

Teams submit a list of protected players to the NHL — lists are due by 3:00 pm MT on June 17. Each team has two options for protecting players in the Expansion Draft:

  • Seven forwards, three defensemen, one goalie
  • Eight skaters (forwards and defensemen), one goalie

What gets tricky is player contracts. If a player has a No Movement clause in his contract, the team must protect him or convince him to waive the clause. Said player counts toward the team’s protection limits.

Player contracts may dictate which of the two protection list options a team chooses. For example, the Colorado Avalanche have two defensemen with No Movement clauses, Erik Johnson and Francois Beauchemin. However, they also have two other defensemen, Tyson Barrie and Nikita Zadorov, they’d definitely want to protect in the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft. That means they must either convince Beauchemin to waive his NMC or select the second option.

That said, there is some relief. Players who are in their first or second year or who are unsigned draft choices are exempt from selection. They also don’t count toward team protection limits. That saves forwards Mikko Rantanen, Tyson Jost and J.T. Compher as well as defensemen Chris Bigras and Anton Lindholm.

Player Exposure Requirements

Teams can’t just expose a barebones list of leftover players and call it a done deal. Rather, there are requirements for what kind of players they expose in the Expansion Draft.

  • One defenseman with a minimum of 70 games experience in the last two seasons OR 40 games in the last season who’s under contract for 2017-18.
  • Two forwards who meet the above experience and contractual requirements.
  • One goalie who’s either under contract for 2017-18 or will be a restricted free agent just prior to the 2017-18 season.

More from Mile High Sticking

A caveat for the goalie rule: If a team wants to expose an RFA, they must have made a qualifying offer prior to submitting their protected list.

A caveat for all players: If a player has missed 60 consecutive games with a potentially career-ending injury or who might otherwise have a career-ending injury, he can’t be used to satisfy a team’s exposure requirements.

Barring trades, the Colorado Avalanche have six forwards, two defensemen (not counting the two with NMCs) and two goalies who meet the exposure requirements. They should have no trouble in that category.

Selection Rules

The 2017 NHL Expansion Draft rules don’t apply to just the 30 existing teams. The Las Vegas Golden Knights must also adhere to a set of rules.

  • The Knights must choose a player from each team for a total of 30 players. They may acquire additional players as a result of *violation of the Expansion Draft rules.
  • Las Vegas must choose 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goalies.
  • At least 20 of the players the Knights choose must be under contract for the 2017-18 season.
  • The aggregate value of the players chosen must be between 60-100% of the 2016-17 season’s upper limit for the salary cap ($73 million).
  • The Knights can’t buy out any of the chosen players before next summer, following a full season.

One thing that’s adding a little filip to the Expansion Draft is that the Kights’ GM, George McPhee has stated that he’s open to trades. That means he could accept a trade to refrain from selecting a specific player or to take on a bad contract.

So, hypothetically, the Colorado Avalanche could trade something to Las Vegas for them to take on Carl Soderberg’s $4.75 million contract, which is still good for three more seasons.

*Teams who violate the Expansion Draft rules forgo a first round draft pick, which goes to the Las Vegas Golden Knights.

When and Where of the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft

As stated above, teams must submit their list of protected players to the NHL by 3:00 pm MT on June 20. The Las Vegas Golden Knights have until 3:00 pm MT on June 20 to make their selection.

The Knights have a 48-hour window between June 17 – 20 to sign unrestricted free agents and unprotected restricted free agents — that’s ahead of the July 1 deadline all other teams adhere to. However, if Vegas signs one of these players, that count’s as the team’s selection. So, if they signed pending RFA Patrick Wiercioch, they don’t get another player from the Avalanche.

The NHL will announce the results of the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft at the awards ceremony on June 21. While the league hasn’t stated when the announcement will take place, the ceremony begins at 6:00 pm MT. The ceremony is taking place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Next: Important Offseason Dates for the Avs

There are no Colorado Avalanche players who are up for awards, so the announcement might be the main reason for Avs fans to watch. The NHL Awards show, with the Expansion Draft results, is being televised on NBC Sports Network in the U.S. and on Sportsnet in Canada.