The LA Kings, along with 29 other teams around the NHL, announced today their protected lists for the upcoming Seattle Expansion Draft.
The Kings protected list consists of one goaltender, three defensemen and seven forwards, leaving a pool of additional players eligible to be selected by the Seattle Kraken, in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft on Wednesday.
Goaltenders (1) – Cal Petersen
Defensemen (3) – Drew Doughty, Matt Roy, Sean Walker
Forwards (7) – Lias Andersson (RFA), Viktor Arvidsson, Dustin Brown, Alex Iafallo, Adrian Kempe, Anze Kopitar, Trevor Moore (RFA)
Included in this list are two players, Kopitar and Doughty, who were also protected by the team in 2017. 9 of the 11 players protected are already under contract for the 2021-22 season, with Andersson and Moore currently restricted free agents in need of new contracts, but under team control beyond the free agency period.
With comments from Todd McLellan and Rob Blake alluding to Petersen as the goaltender of the future within the organization, with the transition already ongoing to his becoming the starting netminder, his protection makes sense and was expected.
On the backend, Doughty, Roy and Walker have all signed contract extensions with the Kings over the last three seasons, with all under contract for at least three more seasons. The choices on the backend were relatively predictable, with all three meriting their selection, and holding value to the Kings this season and beyond.
Up front, there were certainly a couple of decisions to be made, though the seven forwards who were selected don’t offer a ton of surprise. Dustin Brown, who was excluded from the protected list when Vegas entered the league, has shown value to the organization in several ways, meriting his inclusion. Brown led the team in goals this past season, and if he were exposed and selected, it would have opened another hole at forward towards the top of the lineup for the organization to fill elsewhere.
Andersson and Moore are two of the several restricted free agents that the Kings will need to make a decision on in the coming weeks. Qualifying offers are due to restricted free agents next week, those two included. Their inclusion on the list shows that the organization values both players moving forward.
The Seattle Kraken will be eligible to choose one player from the following list of exposed players –
Goaltenders (2) – Troy Grosenick (UFA), Jonathan Quick
Defensemen (8) – Mark Alt (UFA), Daniel Brickley (UFA), Kale Clague (RFA), Olli Maatta, Kurtis MacDermid, Jacob Moverare (RFA), Austin Strand (RFA), Christian Wolanin
Forwards (10) – Andreas Athanasiou (RFA), Martin Frk, Mikey Eyssimont, Carl Grundstrom, Boko Imama (RFA), Brendan Lemieux, Matt Luff (RFA), Blake Lizotte, Drake Rymsha (RFA), Austin Wagner
Barring any sort of side deal, made between Blake and Seattle General Manager Ron Francis, the Kraken would be entitled to select one player of their choosing from the aforementioned list.
The Kings are taking a different approach than four years prior, when the team elected to keep eight skaters (four forwards and four defensemen), as opposed to the 7-3-1 approach taken by the team this season.
The organization is also benefitted in many ways by its place in the rebuilding process, with several of their top young players and prospects exempt from selection, due to inexperience. NHL regulars such as Gabriel Vilardi, Jaret Anderson-Dolan, Tobias Bjornfot and Mikey Anderson are not eligible to be selected, nor are top prospects such as Quinton Byfield, Arthur Kaliyev and Rasmus Kupari, all of whom played NHL games with the Kings this past season.
A full list of protected / unprotected players around the NHL is available HERE.
LA Kings Expansion Draft History
2017, Vegas – Brayden McNabb
2000, Minnesota – Sean O’Donnell, Steve McKenna
1999, Atlanta – Matt Johnson
1998, Nashville – Frederic Chabot
1993, Anaheim – Jim Thomson, Lonnie Loach
1992, Ottawa – Jim Thomson, John Van Kessel
1991, Minnesota – Jim Thomson
1979, Edmonton – Larry Brown
1979, Quebec – Hartland Monahan
1979, Winnipeg – Mark Heaslip, Dennis Abgrall
1974, Washington – Gord Smith
1974, Kansas City – Randy Rota, Norm Dube
1972, Atlanta – Lucien Grenier
1972, New York Islanders – Billy Smith, Bill Mikkelson
1970, Buffalo – Skip Krake
1970, Vancouver – Mike Corrigan
A total of 38 players have been selected in multiple NHL expansion drafts, including two chosen three times, both involving the Kings organization: goaltender Frederic Chabot (1992 TBL, 1998 NSH, 2000 CBJ) and forward Jim Thomson (1991 MNS, 1992 OTT, 1993 ANA). Thomson was chosen in an expansion draft in three consecutive seasons, from the Kings on all three occasions!
The 2021 Expansion Draft is scheduled to take place on July 21, 2021 at 5 PM Pacific. The event will take place live at Gas Works Park in Seattle – which is also the name of the bar in Wayne’s World – where the League will reveal the initial roster of the Seattle Kraken. ESPN2 will carry the broadcast in the United States, with Sportsnet and SN NOW broadcasting the event in Canada.
Jesse Cohen of the All The Kings Men podcast and I will be recording a post-protected list podcast later today, to be released tomorrow, with a reaction to the list, as well as taking a look at other questions facing the Kings entering the NHL Draft and free agency. That podcast will be posted here on LAKI tomorrow.