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The NHL might not make the Expansion Draft protection lists public

Wanna know who the Bruins will protect for the Expansion Draft? You might not get a chance.

NHL: Boston Bruins at Ottawa Senators Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Hey there! Just thought I’d remind you that the Las Vegas Golden Knights still exist as a concept, and at the end of this year the Bruins will have to protect a selection of their players from being plucked from their roster. But don’t worry, they’ll have already drawn up a list of who will be protected and who won’t be!

Do you get to see it?

...Probably not?

First of all, there’s an opportunity for this to be made public anywhere from tomorrow to June 16th at 11:59pm, so I wouldn’t start panicking now, but once the postseason is over, this could come back to haunt you.

So why wouldn’t the NHL make these proceedings public beforehand, like they did the last time?

  • Allows for GMs to really take stock of what they have without public least until after the draft concludes.
  • Perhaps intentionally creating this air of mystery around the expansion draft to promote it as a kind of “ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN” sort of flare even with a good idea of whose going and whose not within the organizations, not too unlike the WWE’s version of a Draft.
  • One idea floated by JJ at Winging it in Motown is that the NHL isn’t interested in fighting the NHLPA and certain players over their perceived value and ending up causing some form of Public Slieght, but is also aware that insiders exist in all forms and the lists will leak regardless of who releases them.

The problem of course, regardless of reason, is that inevitably either the Knights or a team will have exposed or taken a player that feels like they were really improving or becoming part of the team in wherever they were, and it becomes a public sleight when fans and journalists start digging for why a certain player got to stay and the other had to go. Putting the GM in hot water with management and of course...the fans whose public belief in the team might not be as great as it was previously.

For example, here are a list of players that could potentially be available to the Vegas Knights from the Boston Bruins if they don’t include them in the protected list:

  1. Brad Marchand
  2. David Pastrnak
  3. Torey Krug
  4. Colin Miller
  5. Ryan Spooner

Now obviously the players listed here will easily end up being protected and are no-brainers to the idea, but you’d probably want to know if any of those guys weren’t on that list, wouldn’t you? It’d probably come as a monumental shock if a player whose value to the organization was so readily apparent was just taken out of sheer negligence.

And from an optics point of view, something the NHL has never been great at, it makes the NHL look more like a group of autocrats mortgaging the future of athletes people care about even more than they usually do.

In my opinion, it’s better to suffer the slings and arrows of what your fans perceive to be the players worth keeping than to keep them in the dark. This draft isn’t happening behind closed doors, after all. It’s gonna involve Vegas. A place not normally known for a measure of subtlety. Just release the lists a month prior and let the media/fanbase sort it out for themselves.

Until then, all we can do is look at Capfriendly and DailyFaceoff in pensive wonder at who will be staying and who will be going.