Expansion Draft: What Will Happen to the Predators?
The Vegas expansion draft was going to hurt, we all knew that, but Seattle’s could be devastating. Slated for the beginning of the 2021-2022 season, Seattle will, like Vegas, get the opportunity to pick an unprotected player from each team.
Since this is such an early look, we are going to assume the same two packages for protecting players make a return. The first package which most teams used allowed teams to protect seven forwards, three defensemen, and one goaltender. The second option, which Preds fans are more familiar with, is the option for eight players and one goaltender. Poile used this option to keep the defensive core together, which is more than likely what we can expect to happen again, so with four slots taken, who fills out the remaining? It’s expected that it will consist of the JOFA line, and Kyle Turris, and then Juuse Saros taking the goaltender spot, as Pekka Rinne will likely be fresh into retirement.
As for some other rules which may be relevant to Preds fans. For the first rule first and second-year pros will be automatically exempt along with, players who have not signed their rookie contract yet. The second rule being that a player maintains rookie status as long they have not, played in twenty-five games in on NHL season, or playing in six games in multiple seasons. Why does this matter?
The hyped up Finnish phenom, has built anticipation for his permanent stay in Nashville, but will Seattle postpone this? Playing in only three games this season and last, Tolvanen has yet to hit the six-game mark in a season, but you can expect he will this year, due to injuries. Unless Tolvanen is unable to play six games next season, he will be available for picking. What would be more enticing for a new franchise then they opportunity to grab a young player with a load of potential?
A player that garnered a lot of attention during the last expansion, Sissons gets a lot of looks due to his versatility along with his experience. It is also likely that Sissons will not make a whole lot of money on his next contract, making him attractive to Seattle. Even if they decide to roll with the then 28-year-old, and it doesn’t work out, they can always flip him to a team needing a playoff push.
When the expansion draft takes place, Bonino will be around 33, which at that age, makes him a gamble for a new team. That is if they only plan on keeping him. From what we saw with Vegas, flipping players for draft picks is a move that’s on the table, and what contender couldn’t use a player with Nick Bonino’s expertise. As a more defensive role player, Bonino is a prime candidate to be taken and then sent to another contender for future assets.
Lastly, Calle Járnkrok is the role player to end all role players. At the time, Járnkrok will have one year remaining on his current contract which pays him two million dollars a year, Járnkrok falls into the same category as Bonino and Sissons. However, it would also not be surprising for Járnkrok to be a player that Seattle keeps as a mentor for its younger players as his skill set is something that Seattle would most likely like to replicate.
Losing any of these players would hurt, as it would cause Nashville to lose an important role player or future star in the case of Tolvanen. On the bright side, Nashville still has all of their picks for the draft that follows the expansion draft, meaning that we could see David Poile trade a pick to Seattle in order to keep a player from being taken from Seattle.