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An Expansion Draft Explanaple

An explanation of some of the finer points of the expansion draft and an example of who the Jets might protect in the two different expansion scenarios.

Las Vegas NHL Franchise Reveals Team Name And Logo Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The NHL Expansion Draft for the Vegas Golden Knights has some odd and fun rules that teams have to follow. As most fans know by now teams can protect seven forwards, three defenceman, and one goalie or nine total players, one of which has to be a goalie. How teams handle these configuration rules while balancing rules around no movement clauses, experience, injuries, and contracts is where it gets interesting. There are already rumblings that good players like Nino Niederreiter could be traded because of the expansion draft.

How can a team handle the two different scenarios? Let’s look at the Jets and figure it out.

Scenario One: Seven Forwards, Three Defencemen, One Goalie

Seven Protected Forwards:

Mark Scheifele, Byan Little, Mathieu Perreault, Blake Wheeler, Marko Dano, Joel Armia, Adam Lowry

Left Unprotected:

Shawn Matthias, Brandon Tanev, Andrew Copp, Chris Thorburn various AHL players

Nic Petan is except because he has only played in two professional seasons.

Of the unprotected players, one has to sign a new contract so the Jets meet the requirement of two forwards who have played at least 40 games in the previous season or 70 over the previous two seasons. Matthias is the other player that helps meet this requirement.

Three Protected Defencemen:

Tobias Enstrom, Dustin Byfuglien, Jacob Trouba

Left Unprotected:

Mark Stuart, Tyler Myers, Paul Postma, Ben Chiarot, various AHL players

Josh Morrissey is exempt because he has only played in two professional seasons.

The Jets defence is easy enough to project because of the two no-movement clauses with Enstrom and Byfuglien. The decision to protect Enstrom over Myers is two-fold: he is the superior player and he is the player who the Jets have a better idea about health wise as Myers has undergone two hip surgeries over two years.


Connor Hellebuyck


Michael Hutchinson

Eric Comrie is exempt because he only has two years professional experience.

Eight Skaters, One Goalie Scenario


Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler, Mathieu Perreault, Bryan Little, Dustin Byfuglien, Tobias Enstrom, Jacob Trouba, Tyler Myers


Adam Lowry, Marko Dano, Joel Armia, Andrew Copp, Shawn Matthias, Brandon Tanev, Christ Thorburn, Mark Stuart, Paul Postma, Ben Chiarot, various AHL players

A couple things are different in this scenario: fewer players are protected simply to protect one more defenceman, the biggest decision the Jets face is around Copp versus Armia and while I chose Armia, the Jets could easily go with Copp and not lose much, if anything, in that decision.

In the lead up to the expansion draft there will be moves because teams cannot protect all the players that they want to and they do not want to lose a good player for no compensation. A player like Nino Niederreiter could be available and would be a better option for the Jets to protect than a player like Copp. Based on this knowledge, the next month could involve some very interesting deals where good players are moved for future pieces.

One of the more NHL parts of the expansion draft is that the NHL can arbitrarily allow Vegas to select a second player from any team if there has been an expansion draft rule violation. Don’t you love the NHL.

All rules for the expansion draft can be found here.