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Rules for roster: NHL’s new Las Vegas expansion team

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As NHL commissioner Gary Bettman noted, the league wanted to put an expansion draft in place that would allow the team to become competitive quickly.

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“We wanted to ensure that the new team would have better access to players than any of its expansion predecessors,” Bettman said during his announcement Wednesday. “The team coming into the most competitive league in sports will have a roster that will be competitive more quickly than any prior expansions.”

This has already put general managers of existing teams on notice, considering that there’s a good chance they’re going to lose a player they like a great deal in the expansion draft. Teams will have to submit their protected list by June 17, 2017 and Las Vegas will be expected to make their expansion draft picks on June 20, 2017. So we’re now less than a year away from this.

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Here are the basics about the rules for who gets exposed and how Vegas will be expected to draft:

  • NHL clubs have two options when it comes to protecting players from the expansion draft: 1. Teams can protect a combination of seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender OR 2. Teams can protect eight skaters at any position and one goalie.
  • Players that have “no-movement” clauses in their contracts must be protected unless said player agrees to waive his no-movement clause to be placed in the draft.
  • Players that are in either their first or second year of professional hockey, all unsigned draft choices are not eligible to be selected in the expansion draft.

Here’s what the Las Vegas team has to do:

  • They must select one player from each existing club for a total of 30 selections
  • They must select a minimum of 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goaltenders
  • The players Las Vegas selects in the draft must account for between 60 percent and 100 percent of the salary cap.There are a lot of different variables that will make some of these situations change over the course of the season, but given what we know today, here’s a look at what a team in Las Vegas could look like come next June with a full breakdown below:
    Rick Nash Brooks Orpik Jimmy Howard
    Dustin Brown Marc Methot Michael Hutchinson
    Colin Wilson Paul Martin Malcolm Subban
    Jakob Silfverberg Tom Gilbert
    Mikael Backlund Ian Cole
    Cam Atkinson John Moore
    Brock Nelson Michael Stone
    Blake Comeau Alex Petrovic
    Mark Letestu Stuart Percy
    Antoine Roussel Trevor van Riemsdyk
    Matt Read
    Jason Zucker
    Zemgus Girgensons
    Vladislav Namestnikov
    Emerson Etem
    Phil Di Giuseppe
    Ty Rattie

    This roster probably would not strike fear into the hearts of opposing NHL teams right away, but they also wouldn’t necessarily get rolled over. Additionally, the younger players at the bottom of the forward lineup all have some offensive upside that will be affordable now while they grow into bigger roles with the team. There were also some players chosen to help populate the AHL roster, unless they progress in the next few seasons.

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