Predicting Protected Lists: San Jose Sharks
Due to Joe Thornton and Patrick Marceau being unrestricted free agents this offseason, the Sharks would appear to be set up in a comfortable position regarding the expansion draft. However, due to exposure requirements, the situation is much more complicated than how it looks.
The Sharks have five players they must protect. Three are forwards and two are defensemen. The forwards are Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski, and Tomas Hertl, and the defensemen are Brent Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic.
This leaves the Sharks with room to protect either four more forwards and one more defenseman or one more forward and two more defensemen.
Each team for the expansion draft is required to expose two forwards and one defenseman that meets a minimum games played and contract requirement. Out of the remaining players for the Sharks at forward, four players, Joel Ward, Mikkel Boedker, Jannik Hansen, and Melker Karlsson, meet that requirement.
Therefore, should the Sharks protect seven forwards, they would have to leave two of the aforementioned players exposed.
For instance, say they leave Hansen and Ward exposed out of that group. That would leave their protection list looking like Couture, Pavelski, Hertl, Boedker, Karlsson, Tierney (RFA), and who? The remaining options are essentially Barclay Goodrow, a restricted free agent, and a bunch of unrestricted free agents.
To be fair, the Sharks could sign Michael Haley and use him to fulfill exposure requirements. But, if they were going to do that, you would think that they would have signed him already.
So that makes me hypothesize: the Sharks might protect four defensemen instead if this is the case and risk losing one of Karlsson, Boedker, or Tierney.
Instead of protecting a meaningless depth player, they can then protect Justin Braun AND Brendan Dillon along with Vlasic and Burns.
This way may seem a bit unconventional, but it makes sense for the Sharks.
In total, I predict the San Jose Sharks protection list will look like the following:
Forwards: Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski, Tomas Hertl, and ONE OF Boedker/Tierney/Karlsson
Defense: Brent Burns, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Justin Braun, and Brendan Dillon
Goalie: Martin Jones
To be fair, the Sharks could bribe Vegas not to take one of their important players. Regardless, it will be interesting to see the route that Doug Wilson takes.
Next team: St. Louis Blues