Montreal Canadiens: Current Habs Most Likely To Be Selected By Seattle Kraken

OTTAWA, ON - JANUARY 11: Cale Fleury #20 of the Montreal Canadiens. (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)
OTTAWA, ON - JANUARY 11: Cale Fleury #20 of the Montreal Canadiens. (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images) /
1 of 4

The Montreal Canadiens have one year before they have to worry about the expansion draft. Who is most likely to be taken by the Kraken?

The Montreal Canadiens have a lot on their minds right now. They are preparing for a play-in series with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the middle of the summer. They have two players who had tested positive for Covid-19 who just returned to practice. They have a busy offseason coming up with a salary cap that has flatlined and surely changed the plans of many NHL teams.

Also lurking in the not so distant future is the next NHL expansion. The Seattle Kraken were officially born on Thursday and will hold an expansion draft next summer to fill out their roster.

While there are more pressing issues on the Habs plate right now, any moves they make will have an impact on their expansion protection list. Teams are allowed to protect either seven forwards, three defensemen and a goaltender or eight skaters and a goaltender.

The last time we saw this was in 2017 when the Vegas Golden Knights joined the league. The Canadiens, like most teams, protected seven forwards, three defenders and Carey Price and lost Alexei Emelin to the expansion franchise. That gave the Habs an additional $4 million in cap space for the summer, but they used it to sign Karl Alzner as a replacement for the departed Russian defender.

You could say that losing Emelin wasn’t a bad thing for the Habs, but adding a similar type player in Alzner hasn’t really worked out.

So, who are the Habs going to protect this time around? Well, their roster could change between now and then, and they also have a number of pending unrestricted free agents which will make things interesting. Phillip Danault, Brendan Gallagher, Tomas Tatar, Joel Armia and Jeff Petry will be free agents next summer if they aren’t extended before then. You could make a case that all of them should be protected, but if they aren’t signed it doesn’t make sense to protect them.

Also, it is important to keep in mind that players playing in their first or second pro season do not need to be protected. Seattle can’t take a player that hasn’t finished three pro seasons. So, the Habs don’t have to protect Ryan Poehling, Cayden Primeau, Alexander Romanov, Jesse Ylonen, Josh Brook, or Nick Suzuki.

Another note is that players with no movement clauses need to be protected. The only Habs player that affects is Carey Price, although he would obviously by the goaltender protected anyway.

Who will they protect? And who will be released to the Kraken? Let’s take a look at three different scenarios.