On Saturday, 30 NHL teams had to submit their protection lists for the Seattle Expansion Draft. Why 30? Because Vegas, the most recent franchise, is exempt from this expansion. The Boston Bruins being one of the oldest teams in the league is not exempt and as expected, they submitted their list. All but one of the choices are not surprises.
Early in the process, Don Sweeney stated that he would use the 7-3-1 option: 7 forwards, 3 defensemen, and 1 goaltender. Any player with a NMC or NTC had to be protected. Any UFAs or RFAS do not have to be protected because they aren’t signed nor are their rights assigned to the team although RFAs can protected. So Taylor Hall, David Krejci, and Tuukka Rask aren’t protected due to not being signed and Nick Ritchie, an unsigned RFA, is not protected. Essentially, Don Sweeney purposely arranged his contracts so that he didn’t have to make too many difficult choices in whom to protect.
Forwards: Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, Charlie Coyle, Craig Smith, Jake DeBrusk, Trent Frederic
Defensemen: Charlie McAvoy, Matt Grzelcyk, Brandon Carlo
Goaltender: Daniel Vladar
Bruins' 7-3-1 protected list: Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, Charlie Coyle, David Pastrnak, Craig Smith, Jake DeBrusk, Trent Frederic, Charlie McAvoy, Matt Grzelcyk, Brandon Carlo, Dan Vladar.
— Fluto Shinzawa (@FlutoShinzawa) July 18, 2021
Returning to above, why is Trent Frederic on the list while Nick Ritchie isn’t? It could be just a matter of signed vs unsigned. Or it could be a matter of knowing that Nick Ritchie had a career year with the Bruins, even being voted as the current Seventh Player winner, and not wanting to negotiate the contract that deserves. In short, Ritchie has gotten more expensive than he’s probably worth.
How about Jake DeBrusk? Why is he protected? Because they don’t want to give up that asset. Regardless of how we fans feel about his play, DeBrusk is worth something. He had just signed a new deal prior to the return to play in 2021 and has one more year at $3.65 million. If the Bruins have given up on him, Sweeney would rather get something for that asset instead of just given it away for nothing.
So who is likely to be taken from the Bruins? The consensus is that it’s another defenseman like last time: Connor Clifton. Clifton is signed to a very friendly $1 million for the next two years. Even is Seattle wanted to flip him, his skills are good enough that another team would gladly take him.
Tomorrow, we’ll dive into the other unprotected players around the league. The expansion draft is on Wednesday night at 8pm.