Red Wings: Predicting Who Is Protected Before The NHL Expansion Draft

It will be a hectic summer for the Detroit Red Wings and, more particularly, General Manager Steve Yzerman. In addition to the NHL Draft and free agency, the latest NHL expansion draft will take place on June 21st, leaving us to question who the Seattle Kraken may target from Detroit.

The Detroit Red Wings will have plenty of decisions regarding free agency and how they’d like to allocate their plethora of cap space. Yzerman has remained patient, understanding that the organization is nowhere near ready to compete for a playoff spot, let alone a Stanley Cup Championship. He’s continued to stockpile draft picks and use cap space to take on lucrative deals as Marc Staal last season to add additional draft capital.

The Detroit Red Wings are banking on youthful players like Filip Zadina, Moritz Seider, and Lucas Raymond to rejuvenate the franchise. The three players mentioned won’t need to be protected. Center Joe Veleno also fits in that category.

The rules surrounding the expansion draft are as follows. Seattle must select one player from each NHL team, with the only exception being Vegas. The Kraken need to select 14 forwards, nine defensemen, and three goaltenders.

NHL teams have two options when it comes to protecting their players.

Option one: Protect seven forwards, three defenders, and one goaltender.

Option two: Eight skaters at any position and one goaltender.

I expect the rebuilding Detroit Red Wings to choose option one and prioritize protecting as many players as possible. Quite frankly, the organization doesn’t have more than three defenders ripe for the picking valuable enough to protect.

Seven Forwards I Expect The Red Wings Will Protect Come June 21st.

  • Dylan Larkin
  • Tyler Bertuzzi
  • Robby Fabbri
  • Jakub Vrana
  • Givani Smith
  • Adam Erne
  • Michael Rasmussen

Three Defenders And One Netminder I Expect The Detroit Red Wings To Protect.

  • Filip Hronek
  • Dennis Cholowski
  • Gustav Lindstrom
  • Thomas Greiss

The forwards seem fairly easy to predict. Understanding the most intriguing players left for Seattle to sift through are Vladislav Namestnikov and Evgeny Svechnikov. Seattle won’t be interested in Frans Nielsen or Richard Panik when they can take a flier on far younger players that possess some upside. The same can be said about the often injured Danny DeKeyser on the defensive side of things.

If Yzerman elects to keep this group of players, I suspect Seattle to pick defenseman Troy Stecher. I left Stecher off of this list only to plug in Lindstrom, but it was a difficult decision to make, but Stecher is 27 years old, and Lindstrom is just 22.

When it comes to rebuilding, age becomes a factor. Many feel the Red Wings are four or five years away from competing for a championship.  If that is the case, will a 32-year old Stecher still be around?  He becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer. If Lindstrom pans out, he will still only be 27 five years down the road.  For me, it was more of a big-picture decision.

I hope the Red Wings come to terms with Jonathan Bernier on a short contract extension, and he’d be the goaltender protected if Bernier has a desire to test the open market this summer that leaves Detroit no choice but to keep Greiss.

I’m excited to see which direction the Red Wings choose to go this offseason.

About the Author

Bob Heyrman

Bob's writing is comparable to the third starter in a rotation. Sometimes he throws junk that finds the barrel of the bat and gets smacked over the fence, but the odd time he can toss a complete game shutout. Bob is an avid lifelong Detroit sports fan. Bob loves the city and can often be found downtown taking in a sporting event or a cold beverage at a local watering hole.