Predicting Protected Lists: Washington Capitals
Due to the fact that they have a large number of unrestricted free agents on the team, the Washington Capitals do not face many problems heading into the expansion draft. However, one place they where do have to make a quick decision is in goal.
At forward, six of the seven spots are essentially locked in.
Alex Ovechkin, Nick Backstrom, Marcus Johansson, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Tom Wilson, and Andre Burakovsky will all be protected.
After that bunch, the last spot comes down to three players, those being Jay Beagle, Brett Connolly, and Lars Eller.
In terms of age and production, the trio looks like this —
Beagle: 31-years-old, 31 points in 81 games
Connolly: 25-years-old, 23 points in 66 games
Eller: 28-years-old, 25 points in 81 games
Beagle’s numbers look more impressive, however, based solely on deployment and how much they forked over for him last offseason, the Capitals are likely to protect Lars Eller.
On defense, John Carlson and Matt Niskanen are going to be protected.
Albeit rumors have been swirling recently about a jump to the KHL, the Capitals are likely to protect Dmitry Orlov on defense as well. A case could be made for Nate Schmidt over Orlov, but head coach Barry Trotz clearly prefers the Russian.
Braden Holtby will be protected in goal. This leaves Philipp Grubauer to be taken by Vegas. The Golden Knights are looking to be young in net, and Grubauer possesses the ability to transform into a number one goalie. Grubauer has the chance to be the man in Vegas, which is an opportunity he will never get in Washington.
In total, the Washington Capitals probable protection list looks as so:
Forwards: Alex Ovechkin, Nick Backstrom, Marcus Johansson, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Tom Wilson, Andre Burakovsky, Lars Eller
Defense: John Carlson, Matt Niskanen, Dmitry Orlov
Goalie: Braden Holtby
Unless they trade him in the upcoming days, the aforementioned Grubauer is likely to go to Vegas in the expansion draft.
Next team: Winnipeg Jets