The NHL announced Sunday the players that each of the league's 30 existing teams has protected in the expansion draft and which players each team has made available to the Las Vegas Golden Knights.
The Capitals elected to the use seven forward, three defenseman and one goaltender option. On their protection list, which was submitted to the league Saturday, Washington included forwards Alex Ovechkin, Nick Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Andre Burakovsky, Marcus Johansson, Lars Eller, Tom Wilson as well as defensemen John Carlson, Matt Niskanen and Dmitry Orlov and goaltender Braden Holtby. No surprises there; those are the 11 players that made the most sense to shield, and the list was confirmed late Saturday by The Washington Post.
The Caps also exposed 27 players organization-wide. Among the notable players left unprotected were Nate Schmidt, Philipp Grubauer, Jay Beagle, Brett Connolly, Tyler Graovac, Brooks Orpik and Taylor Chorney and all five unrestricted free agents, an impressive group that features T.J. Oshie, Kevin Shattenkirk, Justin Williams, Karl Alzner and Daniel Winnik.
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Here is Washington’s available list in its entirety (via NHL.com):
Chris Bourque, F
Paul Carey, F
Stanislav Galiev, F
Garrett Mitchell, F
Liam O'Brien, F
Zach Sill, F
Chandler Stephenson, F
Christian Thomas, F
Nathan Walker, F
J. Williams, F
Cody Corbett, D
Darren Dietz, D
Christian Djoos, D
Tom Gilbert, D
Aaron Ness, D
Pheonix Copley, G
The Golden Knights must select one player from each presently existing team. Those selections will be announced Wednesday night during the NHL Awards show in Last Vegas.
Vegas GM George McPhee can also now begin contacting free agents such as Oshie, Shattenkirk, Alzner and others who were left unprotected by their teams. If one of those players ends up signing with the Golden Knights, he'll count as Vegas’ selection from that team.
Vegas is also permitted to complete trades in the coming days and will “give all 30 clubs every opportunity to keep their rosters intact if they’d like.”
For the right price, that is.
“This means that before the Golden Knights claim a player off a team's unprotected list,” Vegas said via a statement issued Saturday, “McPhee and his staff are willing to negotiate deals so the other clubs do not lose a player they would otherwise like to keep.”
Indeed, the next few days could get even more interesting around the NHL.
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