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For me, there are two players the Colorado Avalanche can ill-afford to lose in the Expansion Draft, yet they’re exactly the players the Vegas Knights may target.
First of all, Adrian Dater is convinced the Avalanche are going to protect starting — but often-injured and overpriced — goalie Semyon Varlamov. So, the Vegas Knights may snap up Calvin Pickard as a cheap but reliable back up to their certain starter, Marc-Andre Fleury.
That’s bad for the Colorado Avalanche because that leaves Colorado goal tending in the hands of the very green Spencer Martin when Varlamov’s groin inevitably gives out again. Plus, there’s no backup to Martin unless they sign last year’s draft pick, Adam Werner.
The Colorado Avalanche almost certainly have to expose defenseman Mark Barberio. And losing him would be worse in some ways than losing Pickard. Barberio is in the new style of Colorado Avalanche hockey, and fleet, puck-moving defensemen are so hard to come by.
The deadline for teams’ protected lists is June 17. The Las Vegas Golden Knights have until June 20 to make their selections. The results will be announced during the NHL awards show on June 21.