Who Would The Washington Capitals Protect In A 2015 Expansion Draft?

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Apr 13, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; The Washington Capitals players wave to fans after their final game of the season against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Verizon Center. The Lightning won 1-0 in a shootout.

Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

In case you haven’t heard, the NHL is quite serious about expansion. With expansion comes a very fun, but confusing, event: An NHL expansion draft. Expansion is expected to happen around 2015 or 2016. So, hypothetically, if there were to be a 2015 NHL expansion draft, who should the Washington Capitals protect? Let’s begin with a refresher of the rules. I’m going to assume that the rules will be the same as they were back in 2000 (the last time there was an NHL expansion draft). The rules will probably be different in 2015, but we don’t know how they will differ. I’ve taken the liberty to quote the more important parts, but if you’re interested, here’s the whole thing.

 “Each club was allowed to protect either (i) up to five defensemen, nine forwards and one goaltender, or (ii) up to three defensemen, seven forwards and two goaltenders.  Each club was required to expose for claim at least the following players who meet the experience requirements indicated below: ONE GOALTENDER — For clubs protecting one goaltender, no experience requirement. For clubs protecting two goaltenders, either 10 NHL games played in the 1999-2000 season or 25 NHL games played over the last two seasons (1998-99 and 1999-2000). A goaltender must have played in a minimum of 31 minutes in a game before it would qualify as a game played for these purposes. Games played include regular season and playoff games. ONE DEFENSEMAN — Either 40 NHL games played in the 1999-2000 season or 70 NHL games played over the last two seasons (1998-99 and 1999-2000). Games played include regular season and playoff games. TWO FORWARDS – Either 40 NHL games played in the 1999-2000 season or 70 NHL games played over the last two seasons (1998-99 and 1999-2000). Games played include regular season and playoff games. Exempt from the Expansion Draft are (i) all first and second-year pros and (ii) unsigned draft choices (except unsigned draft choices drafted from European clubs in the 1996 Entry Draft or before and who remain unsigned). 

The Ineligible Players

Chances are, the following Washington Capitals players would be ineligible to be drafted:

  1. Andre Burakovsky (would be either a first year or second year player)
  2. Any other prospect who has minimal to no NHL experience, which would include Riley Barber, Madison Bowey, Nate Schmidt, etc
  3. Connor Carrick would be ineligible to be drafted unless he plays in no fewer than 36 games with the Washington Capitals in 2014-2015. He played in 34 games with the Washington Capitals in 2013-2014.
  4. Michael Latta would not count since he will be a second year player after the 2015 season.
  5. Evgeny Kuznetsov and Tom Wilson would also be ineligible since they would both be second year players.
  6. Philipp Grubauer would be ineligible for the same reason.

Mike Green, Eric Fehr, Jay Beagle, Aaron Volpatti, John Erskine, and Jack Hillen would all be free agents after the 2015 season. I think the Washington Capitals would choose to protect one goalie, five defensemen, and nine forwards. By position, here are who the Washington Capitals would probably protect.

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