With the Vegas Golden Knights officially introduced, logos and all, who should the Bruins expose to a move out west?
The Bruins must leave unprotected at least two forwards and one defensemen who have contracts running until 2018 AND have either played in 40 games this year or 70 games the past two seasons combined.
Teams also must leave unprotected a goalie whose contract runs until 2018, or has negotiating rights that run until then. This is no issue, as the Bruins made sure to sign players this offseason who would help fill those rules in Riley Nash and Anton Khudobin.
The Bruins have four players they must protect in the expansion draft, unless they explicitly ask them to waive their no-move clauses: David Backes, Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, and Zdeno Chara.
There are two options for protecting players based on positions - teams can protect seven forwards, three defensemen, and one goalie, or eight forwards and defenseman, and one goalie.
Looking at the Bruins list of players who need to be protected, going the 7-3-1 route makes the most sense. Polling our writers, we reached an easy consensus, with only one change across the ballots when two writers protected Jimmy Hayes over Matt Beleskey in the interest of longer term cap flexibility.
The list of names are courtesy of CapFriendly, a great cap site that has a mock expansion draft tool that you can use to draft your own Vegas Golden Knights. With that said, here is who the folks at Cup Of Chowder think the Bruins should protect.
Jimmy Hayes and Riley Nash fulfill the forward exposure requirements, with McQuaid and Kevan Miller doing the same for defense. Anton Khudobin fills out the requirements in goal.
All of the players above are not able to be picked, given that they have fewer than two professional seasons at the end of the 2016-17 season. Unsigned college players like Trent Frederic, Ryan Lindgren, Ryan Donato, Charlie McAvoy, Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, and Anders Bjork are also exempt.
There is one way the Bruins could still comply with the exposure requirements and be able to keep Kevan Miller as well. As much as we rag on him, it would be much better to lose Adam McQuaid or Jimmy Hayes from a numbers standpoint, and Miller has been a respectable defenseman. Not great, but not below replacement level either. He has his value.
In order to do this, however, the Bruins would need to get captain Zdeno Chara to waive his no move clause for the expansion draft, allowing him to retain it afterwards.
Doing this is not without risks, as it would mean the Bruins could lose Chara. But would a team that realistically won’t be competitive for two or three years prefer to have a 40 year old defenseman with one year left on his contract or a thirty year old defenseman?
The hard part in this scenario would be to convince Chara to waive his no-move, as he clearly feels a bond with the city of Boston and with the team he captains. Approaching him to ask him to waive his no-move would be a daunting task, and would have to be coached with the future in mind. Even opening up this option would be beneficial, as they would give themselves more flexibility.
Getting Chara to waive his no-move clause in a timely manner would allow them to talk with the Golden Knights to gauge their interest in selecting him, and either keeping him protected or flipping minimal assets so they don’t select him. If they remain at an impasse, they can still keep Chara protected, even if he waives his NMC. The more flexibility, and the more ways the Bruins try to skirt the rules of the expansion draft to keep players who can help their team, the better they will be.