New York Rangers: The Only Way To Protect Antti Raanta in the Expansion Draft

Per expansion draft rules, the New York Rangers can only protect one goalie, but there is a way that they can make sure that both of their goalies are still on Broadway in 2017-2018.

Unless you have been living under a rock, you would know that at the end of the season, the NHL will officially add a new team; the Las Vegas Golden Knights. In order to give this team it’s 1st roster, the league will be holding an expansion draft after the Stanley Cup Finals.

In this special, one team draft, Las Vegas will select one player currently rostered on each of the current 30 NHL clubs to join them. Each of the 30 teams will be able to protect a combination of their players from being drafted. They can either hold on to 7 forwards, 3 defensemen and 1 goalie, or eight skaters along with a goaltender.

Since he has a no movement clause and they are not dumb–well, that’s still up for debate–the New York Rangers will be protecting Henrik Lundqvist with their one goalie slot. With that said, though, there is still one way they can ensure that the Golden Knights don’t select Antti Raanta in the draft.

The Scenario

In past expansion drafts, team’s have made deals with expansion teams where they would give up some collateral–be it draft picks or a prospect(s)–for confirmation that a certain unprotected player is not selected.

HistoricalHockey.blogspot.com has a fantastic article about the Nashville Predators expansion draft that details pretty much everything that happened. They even mentioned how Mike Richter was drafted by the Predators when he was an unrestricted free agent in New York.

There were a few different instances where this was the case, as the article states.

Reportedly the Flames gave Dowd to the Predators for not selecting one of their goaltenders. The Flames only protected Ken Wregget, allowing them to protect more of their defencemen and forwards. The Blackhawks reportedly did the same for not selecting Chris Terreri. The Kings traded Timonen and Vopat to the Predators for having chosen Frederic Chabot and (reportedly) not choosing defenceman Garry Galley.

If they really wanted to, the New York Rangers could do this for Antti Raanta if they felt that he was at danger of being selected. A mid-round draft pick or a mid-level prospect might be enough to get it done.

Should the Rangers do this, though?

If they pull a move like this, it might be in their best interest to protect a forward like Michael Grabner instead. At the moment, Las Vegas will have a chance to pick one netminder from the tandems of Detroit (Jimmy Howard or Petr Mrazek), Pittsburgh (Marc-Andre Fleury or Matt Murray), Philadelphia (Michael Neuvirth or Steve Mason) and Tampa Bay (Ben Bishop or Andrei Vasilevskiy).

Would they really take Raanta over any of those goalies?

I’m not sure, especially since they would need to reach the salary cap floor of $54 million.

This scenario is worth mentioning, though. Raanta has been rock solid since coming over to New York via trade at the 2015 NHL Draft. He has posted a 21-10-2 record with 2.26 GAA and a .920 SV% in 32 starts with the Rangers.

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