Looming NHL Expansion Draft is the Real Trade Deadline Winner

The NHL’s Looming Expansion Draft is a Consistent Thorn in Every Team’s Side This Trade Deadline. The Expansion Draft Has Been Impacting Every Team’s Trade Intentions This Season.

NHL trades are being heavily influenced by the expansion draft coming this June as the Vegas Golden Knights officially join the NHL.

The expansion draft has very specific requirements regarding how many players a team can protect and expose in face of the draft. These rules and regulations are causing teams to examine their rosters closely to assure they can protect the right layers and have just the right players to expose.

The Rules

* Clubs will have two options for players they wish to protect in the Expansion Draft:

a) Seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender

b) Eight skaters (forwards/defensemen) and one goaltender

* All players who have currently effective and continuing “No Movement” clauses at the time of the Expansion Draft (and who to decline to waive such clauses) must be protected (and will be counted toward their club’s applicable protection limits).

* All first- and second-year professionals, as well as all unsigned draft choices, will be exempt from selection (and will not be counted toward their club’s applicable protection limits).

(Full Expansion Draft Rules via NHL)

The Impact on NHL Trades

The rules of the expansion draft are impacting every move that these teams are making because they need to fit the specific criteria for expansion.

Teams who have a high number of players with no movement clauses are going to face a difficulty as they head towards the end of the season.

Having to protect certain players then lowers a team’s opportunity to keep necessary players that they need. Players with no movement causes are automatically protected and if they amount to more or equal to the limit, the team has some work to do.

These NHL teams are going to be looking to find players to fit the criteria for exposure, as hard as it sounds. These teams with players approaching expiring contracts are also going to be looking to get as much out of any moves they can do.

Most teams who will be looking to make trades will either be in search of draft picks, prospects, first and second-year NHL-ers, or players rooted in a no movement clause. The problem this creates is a trade market mostly filled with players exempt from expansion draft exposure.

While some teams are looking to make substantial deals this deadline, especially Cup contending teams who need a few more pieces, each move will be done with a lot of thought behind it. Teams need to prioritize players they need to protect, especially since they can protect a certain amount.

Trading for a top player seems like a great move for any team but when that player is risking exposure, say a team has too many no movement clauses on the roster, it becomes an extremely risky move.

Awaiting Moves

The trade deadline is coming up fast on March 1st and there isn’t much telling what kind of moves are yet to be made.

Sure, the Avalanche are confidently shopping Gabriel Landeskog and Matt Duchene and the Blues are still pretty positive they’ll move Kevin Shattenkirk before losing him for nothing, but nothing is positive until it happens.

The only thing for sure is that the Vegas Golden Knights have the biggest upper hand this trade deadline. The team has been consistently scouting their future NHL family and are probably pretty positive which players might be available to them.

These NHL teams will do their best to make the best moves possible around this looming expansion draft but no matter how badly a team wants to stay worry-free about the draft, it is still will have a big impact on the moves the team makes.

At the bare minimum, these teams need to assure they can expose the minimum one d-man, two forwards and one goaltender to the draft. And from there the team needs to assure the player has played the necessary amount of games and is signed for the coming season.

This looming draft is bound to have a big effect on trades and re-signings as the league heads into the second-half of the season. Even the teams with the most flexibility will be considering the coming draft in the moves they might plan to make.

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