The protection lists have been released for the 2017 Expansion Draft and there were no surprises from the Toronto Maple Leafs perspective.
Here is the team’s official protected/unprotected list that was submitted last night at 5 p.m EST:
2017 NHL Expansion Draft - Toronto Maple Leafs Protected / Available List
|Tyler Bozak (F)||Ben Smith (40/70)|
|JVR (F)||Eric Fehr (40/70)|
|Leo Komarov (F)||Martin Marincin (40/70)|
|Nazem Kadri (F)||Alexey Marchenko (40/70)|
|Connor Brown (F)||Garret Sparks (RFA)*|
|Matt Martin (F)||Kerby Rychel|
|Josh Leivo (F)||Brendan Leipsic|
|Morgan Rielly (D)||Brian Boyle (UFA)|
|Jake Gardiner (D)||Matt Hunwick (UFA)|
|Connor Carrick (D)||Roman Polak (UFA)|
|Frederik Andersen (G)||Milan Michalek (UFA)|
|Colin Greening (UFA)|
|Seth Griffith (RFA)|
|Andrew Campbell (UFA)|
|Steve Oleksy (UFA)|
|Antoine Bibeau (RFA)|
|Curtis McElhinney (UFA)|
|Joffrey Lupul (IR)|
|Nathan Horton (IR)|
*Note: Garret Sparks, an RFA, had to be given a qualifying offer to meet the requirements for exposing one goalie under contract.
Of the candidates for the final forward spot (Josh Leivo, Kerby Rychel, Brendan Leipsic), the Leafs have opted to protect Leivo, who put up 10 points in 13 NHL games last season in spot duty. This was something of a no-brainer; even if he doesn’t factor into the team’s plans come the Fall, he carries the most significant trade value of the three. More on why this was the right decision here.
Teams can also now negotiate trades with Vegas surrounding unprotected players. After the buzz that the trade market would be flooded with quality defencemen in advance of the trade freeze on Saturday, no NHL blueliner outside of Nathan Beaulieu was dealt, as clubs opted to play wait-and-see on the protection lists.
There were a few factors steering GMs toward that approach. The big one is that the clubs that were up against it with protection issues were going to lose an asset to Vegas no matter what. In some cases, GMs have a deal in place with Vegas to steer clear of one player in particular. In other cases — i.e. Minnesota and Florida, although we’ll see if they have any deals in place by Thursday — a GM may have been better off just cutting his losses rather than losing multiple coveted assets (one to trade, one to the draft) off of the NHL roster, also knowing any roster player coming back in a trade would have to be protected if they met the experience requirements.
After the freeze took effect, Vegas’ management group sent out a press release making the other teams aware they’re open for business with the lists released.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) June 18, 2017
Here is the full list of protected/exposed players around the league for your roster building and trade speculation enjoyment. Keep in mind that any surprising names could be present in-name-only given the side deals already in place and that will continue to be worked out in the next four days in the leadup to the draft.
Of note among defencemen: Jason Demers was exposed in Florida, Calvin De Haan is available on the Islanders’ list, Sami Vatanen and Josh Manson went unprotected in Anaheim (a side deal is reportedly in place that will save Manson, at a minimum), and Minnesota opted to protect Jonas Brodin while exposing Matt Dumba and Marco Scandella.