Predicting Protected Lists: Tampa Bay Lightning
The Tampa Bay Lightning will have to make a fairly large decision up front before the expansion draft, however Steve Yzerman’s situation is not as dire as it is made out to be.
According to a report, Ryan Callahan is not expected to be asked to waive his no-movement clause. That makes him an obvious shoe-in to be protected.
Other guarantees to be protected at forward are Steven Stamkos, Ondrej Palat, Nikita Kucherov, and Tyler Johnson.
There have been rumblings that Jonathan Drouin could be traded before the expansion draft. However, nothing has surfaced yet and he will be on Tampa Bay’s protection list as of now.
That leaves one spot remaining and it could go to either Vlad Namestnikov or Alex Killorn.
Namestnikov, 24, had 28 points in 74 games last season. He was a first round pick by Tampa Bay in 2011.
As for Killorn, the 27-year-old had 36 points in 81 games last season.
This choice is a coin flip to some people, however I believe that Alex Killorn will be the last protected forward for Tampa Bay.
Regardless of who is protected, though, the other player immediately becomes a top candidate to go to Vegas for next season.
On defense, Victor Hedman and Anton Stralman are guarantees to be protected.
After that, Slater Koekkoek is next in line. Although he is not as experienced as other options, he holds the potential to become a solid, top-four defender in the league. He is actually closer to that role than some people may think.
The Tampa Bay Lightning’s protection list could look like this:
Forwards: Steven Stamkos, Ryan Callahan, Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov, Jonathan Drouin, Alex Killorn
Defense: Victor Hedman, Anton Stralman, Slater Koekkoek
Goalie: Andrei Vasilevskiy
The Lightnig’s list could change based solely on the fact that Drouin or Johnson could be moved in a trade. But as of now, this is where it stands.
Next team: Toronto Maple Leafs