Predicting Protected Lists: Columbus Blue Jackets
The Columbus Blue Jackets are in a very vulnerable position when it comes to the expansion draft. Even if things go perfectly, they will still be losing an important player to Vegas.
First things first, Scott Hartnell’s situation needs to be looked at. Currently, Hartnell has two more years at $4.75 million per on his contract. In addition, he carries a no-movement clause, which, as we all know, requires him to be protected in the expansion draft.
The consensus is that Columbus will either get Hartnell to waive his clause so they can keep a younger player, or Hartnell we be bought out. The latter option is certainly worse for Columbus due to the term remaining on Hartnell’s contract.
No matter how it happens, though, Columbus cannot afford to have Hartnell on their protected list over the likes of William Karlsson, Alexander Wennberg, Josh Anderson, or someone else of greater significance than the agitator.
Assuming Hartnell is not on the protected list, the Jackets will have to choose seven forwards from a crop of eight or nine that deserve protection.
The players that will undoubtedly be protected include Brandon Saad, Brandon Dubinsky, Nick Foligno, Boone Jenner, and Cam Atkinson.
That leaves two spots for Alexander Wennberg, Josh Anderson, and William Karlsson.
Wennberg could almost be placed into the previous category mentioned. Wennberg is an extremely valuable, versatile, and young center that Jarmo Kekalainen certainly will not want to lose.
So, essentially, the choice comes down to Josh Anderson or William Karlsson. Anderson, 23, had 17 goals and 29 points in 78 games last season. Karlsson, 24, had six goals and 25 points in 81 games.
The stats favor Anderson slightly, however both players are important to Columbus’ success. However, if I had to place money on it, I think Columbus would protect Josh Anderson in this scenario, and I think that is how it is going to play out in a week.
As for defensemen, Columbus can protect three of Seth Jones, Ryan Murray, David Savard, and Jack Johnson. In terms of age and contracts, it is a safe bet to think that it will be Jones, Murray, and Savard that get the protection slots.
In goal, Sergei Bobrovsky has a no-movement clause and must be protected. Bobrovsky, a Hart Trophy finalist this year, would have been protected anyways.
This, though, leaves Joonas Korpisalo unprotected. Korpisalo has the potential to turn into an NHL starter and would also be very enticing for Vegas.
The Blue Jackets protection list could wind up looking like this:
Forwards: Brandon Saad, Brandon Dubinsky, Nick Foligno, Boone Jenner, Cam Atkinson, Alexander Wennberg, Josh Anderson
Defense: Ryan Murray, David Savard, Seth Jones
Goalie: Sergei Bobrovsky
The Vegas Golden Knights could take either William Karlsson or Joonas Korpisalo if this is the case. It all depends on what else is out there and what their needs are.
Next team: Dallas Stars