ST. LOUIS — As the Vegas Golden Knights become the NHL’s 31st club this year, they’re stocking up on talent, and they’ll have their best opportunity yet to do so this week as they’re afforded the chance to select one player from the each of other 30 NHL teams during Wednesday’s expansion draft.
In advance of the draft, teams were required to submit a list of either eight skaters and one goaltender or seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender that they can protect from being selected. The Blues chose the latter option, shielding forwards Patrik Berglund, Ryan Reaves, Jaden Schwartz, Vladimir Sobotka, Paul Stastny, Alexander Steen and Vladimir Tarasenko, defensemen Jay Bouwmeester, Joel Edmundson and Alex Pietrangelo and goalie Jake Allen from the draft.
Players with two years or less of professional experience are automatically exempt from the draft, meaning that the Blues did not have to protect forwards Ivan Barbashev, Robby Fabbri and Zach Sanford and defensemen Colton Parayko and Jordan Schmaltz.
14 players who saw NHL action during the 2016-17 season are included on the Blues’ unprotected list: forwards Kenny Agostino, Kyle Brodziak, Dmitrij Jaskin, Jori Lehtera, Magnus Paajarvi, David Perron, Ty Rattie, Scottie Upshall and Nail Yakupov, defensemen Robert Bortuzzo, Chris Butler, Carl Gunnarsson and Petteri Lindbohm and goaltender Carter Hutton.
Brodziak, Jaskin, Perron, Bortuzzo, Gunnarsson and Hutton are under contract through next season or beyond, while the remaining players are restricted or unrestricted free agents this offseason.