The Winnipeg Jets are in a fairly good spot in regards to the expansion draft. They are only slated to lose a depth player or (spoiler) an injury-ridden Tyler Myers to Vegas.
Up front, the Jets will absolutely be protecting Mark Scheifele, Bryan Little, Blake Wheeler, and Mathieu Perreault.
After that, a trio of middle-six, younger players are expected to be protected. They are Adam Lowry, Marko Dano, and Joel Armia.
That is all there is for forwards. The most likely to be taken by Vegas out of the exposed forwards are Andrew Copp and Scott Komaschuk. Although valuable pieces, losing either of these players would not be crushing to the Jets.
On defense, the Jets have two players with no-movement clauses in Dustin Byfuglien and Tobias Enstrom. The Jets are not expected to ask either to waive.
The choice then becomes between Jacob Trouba and Tyler Myers. Myers, as previously mentioned, has struggled with injuries in the past few years and also has been the inferior player to Trouba. So, choosing Trouba to protect is easy.
The Jets gave up a lot in the Tyler Myers-Evander Kane deal a few years ago, but if Vegas decides to take Myers, it is not the end of the world. The defenseman they sent to Buffalo in that deal, Zach Bogosian, is struggling more than Myers is.
In goal, Connor Hellebuyck is currently projected to be protected. However, the Jets could acquire a goalie, such as Marc-Andre Fleury or Antti Raanta, to protect instead.
The Winnipeg Jets protected list could look like this in the end:
Forwards: Mark Scheifele, Bryan Little, Blake Wheeler, Mathieu Perreault, Adam Lowry, Marko Dano, Joel Armia
Defense: Dustin Byfuglien, Tobias Enstrom, Jacob Trouba
Goalie: Connor Hellebuyck OR acquired player
Thank you all for following along with the “Predicting Protected Lists” series. It will be interesting to see how close this is to the actual protected list submitted by the teams. All previous teams can be found on the site. A link to a “moment” on Twitter with all the articles will also be posted.
Stay tuned for more articles in the next week.
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
There have been a lot of trade rumors swirling around the Winnipeg Jets organization this season, mostly involving defenseman Dustin Byfuglien and forward Andrew Ladd. It was initially believed that they would try to keep Ladd and trade Byfuglien, but things have seemed to switch over the past few weeks.
The Jets are a bottom-ten team in the NHL this year and are poised to be sellers at the deadline. As next season rolls around, their defense could look a lot different.
For one, Tobias Enstrom has reportedly been shopped around recently. Enstrom, 31, has seen a steady decline in his point totals every year since the 2009-2010 season with the Atlanta Thrashers. He is on pace for under 20 points this year.
Enstrom isn’t exactly the tastiest of pieces that is on the market. His lack of production coupled with being on the books for two more years after this one at 5.75 million per makes him difficult to trade without the Jets eating a significant amount of his contract.
The other name the Jets have to figure out what to do with is Jacob Trouba. The ninth overall pick in 2012, Trouba is set for a big pay increase, as he is a restricted free agent this year. The Jets certainly do not want to trade him but they may be backed into a corner if they re-sign Byfuglien long term at 7 million per or more.
Gary Lawless, @garylawless, of The Hockey News suggests that if Byfuglien is re-signed for this price, a Hamonic for Trouba deal may make sense due to Hamonic’s lower cap hit.
Tyler Myers has been thrown out in discussions, mostly for Travis Hamonic, but a move involving him is highly unlikely.
The Jets defense could look like a number of combinations next year, with the likes of Byfuglien, Myers, Trouba, Enstrom, Hamonic, Stuart, Postma, Chiarot, and Morrissey all in the running.
Kevin Cheveldayoff has less than 30 days to decide his course of action heading into the offseason which will decide the fate of his hockey club for the 2016-2017 season.