Sunday morning, 30 NHL teams submitted a list of players that they will protect from the expansion draft that will take place Wednesday, June 21. Most of the lists were predictable and as expected, but here a few that seemed the most puzzling:
Arizona’s decision to expose Radim Vrbata is baffling. Vrbata led the team in points this year with (20 goals, 35 assists). Jordan Martinook is protected by the team and he scored 11 goals and 14 assists. The only acceptable reasoning here is age: Martinook at age 24 may be more valuable to the team than Vrbata at age 36.
Detroit Red Wings
Petr Mrazek being exposed comes as a huge shock. By the looks of this season, it seemed like Detroit was going to move forward with Mrazek in net, but oddly enough, they appear to value Jimmy Howard more. This offers Vegas another good goaltender to pick.
Jonathan Marchessault put up 30 goals, 51 points this season and is exposed. This decision is odd especially considering he’s 26 so age isn’t a factor here, neither is his contract; he’s signed through next season at $750,000.
It’s surprising to see Matt Dumba (11 goals, 34 points) and Eric Staal (28 goals, 65 points) exposed by Minnesota, especially Dumba who is a young, promising defensemen. This decision makes it seem as if the Wild are unsure of their identity and what direction they’re going as a team.
St. Louis Blues
The most confusing protection list came from St. Louis. They chose to protect forward Ryan Reaves (7 goals, 13 points) over David Perron (18 goals, 46 points). They’re both veteran players and around the same age, the only difference between the two besides the points they put up is their contract. Reaves’ cap hit is $1.125 million while Perron will make $3.75 million.
Lastly, Washington’s decision to expose defensemen Nate Schmidt over forward Tom Wilson is odd. From an outside perspective, Schmidt seems more valuable to the team than Wilson. They put up similar numbers with Schmidt playing 20 less games. Washington only has three starting defensemen signed through next year, so giving up Schmidt for nothing doesn’t seem like the smartest move.
Most of these seemingly unexpected decisions made by teams might be done because of factors unknown by the public. It’s very possible some players were protected due to potential trades with Vegas. There’s a lot going on behind the scenes this week, it’ll be interesting to see what happens by the end of Wednesday night.