The St. Louis Blues are a pretty simple team when it comes to the expansion draft. They will have no problems reaching the exposure requirements, and the players they will protect are, for the most part, easy to predict.
Up front, Vladimir Tarasenko, Alexander Steen, and Jaden Schwartz will absolutely be protected. These three drive the offense for St. Louis and Doug Armstrong would be out of his mind to let any of them go.
After them, Paul Stastny, Patrick Berglund, and Vlad Sobotka are next in line.
Sobotka came back to the NHL for the playoffs and signed a three-year “extension” with St. Louis. He made an immediate impact on the team and will take up a top-nine role next season.
Stastny and Berglund are two guys that struggled in 2015-2016 but bounced back this season. Stastny has had injury issues, but St. Louis should protect him regardless.
The last protection spot at forward can go to David Perron. It could be argued that Jori Lehtera or Nail Yakupov could get it, but Perron is simply better and more valuable.
On defense, it is basically a lock that Alex Pietrangelo, Jay Bouwmeester, and Joel Edmundson will be protected.
In net, the Blues committed long term to Jake Allen and he will be protected.
The St. Louis Blues probable protection list:
Forwards: Vladimir Tarasenko, Alexander Steen, Jaden Schwartz, Paul Stastny, Patrik Berglund, Vlad Sobotka, David Perrson
Defense: Alex Pietrangelo, Jay Bouwmeester, Joel Edmundson
Goalie: Jake Allen
Vegas could take Yakupov, Jaskin, or another depth forward from the Blues.
Next team: Tampa Bay Lightning