Red Wings Have Some Decisions To Make On Protected List

This weekend becomes a very pivotal one for the NHL as teams prepare for expansion. Saturday at 3 PM Eastern the trade/waiver window will freeze for all NHL teams except Las Vegas. At 5 PM Eastern all 30 NHL Clubs must submit their protection list to Central Registry as well as the NHLPA. Sunday at 10 AM Eastern the protection list will be made available to the Golden Knights and all 30 NHL clubs as well as the NHLPA. All of this leads up to June 21st where the Golden Knights will select their players for the upcoming 2017 season.
With a lot taking place, you can expect some movement before teams have to protect their players before 3 PM. Just don’t expect Detroit to be one of those teams. The Red Wings will most likely stand pat before the 3 PM window and submit their 11 player protection list (7 Forwards, 3 Defensemen, 1 Goalie). Ken Holland stated that he won’t make any pre-expansion deals with Vegas to hold on to a player which means the Red Wings WILL indeed lose someone. Ken Holland might be on to something here because this will allow for him to see other teams protection lists and possibly talk to other teams, who are squeezed by the protection list, about acquiring a player.
There will be teams who don’t want to lose a player for nothing and will look to move them, most will likely be defensemen. Teams like Anaheim, Minnesota, and Nashville to name the few who have more defensemen that can be protected and could be looking to move some rather than losing them for nothing. It’s possible that Ken Holland could kick the tires (Stop me if you heard this before) on acquiring a defenseman from one of those teams.
Now comes the interesting part. Who will the Red Wings protect? As mentioned, Detroit will protect 7 forwards, 3 defensemen, and 1 goalie. Good news for all is that Dylan Larkin cannot be exposed. A player with less than two years of pro experience cannot be selected, Larkin falls under this category. Anthony Mantha and Andreas Athanasiou however, have more than two years pro experience which means Holland will have to protect them. We anticipate that Tomas Tatar, Gustav Nyquist, Henrik Zetterberg, Mantha, Athanasiou, and Frans Nielsen (Who must be protected due to his No-Movement Clause) will be protected. The last forward spot will be interesting because it leaves Justin Abdelkader, Darren Helm, Luke Glendenning, and Riley Sheahan to be protected. Most likely Abdelkader will be the one who’s protected, however you could make the argument to protect Riley Sheahan and force Vegas to take a bad contract off Detroit’s hands.
At defensemen expect to see Mike Green and Danny Dekeyser to be protected leaving Detroit to make a decision between Xavier Ouellet and Nick Jensen. Kronwall, Ryan Sproul, and Jonathan Ericsson will be exposed.
The Goalie situation will be between Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek. Howard, who is 33, has a contract that the Wings would love to rid themselves, however Howard has outplayed Mrazek, who is 25 and has one year left on a $4 Million contract. Most likely Mrazek will be protected, leaving Howard exposed. Jared Coreau, who played with Detroit for three months and was a key part in Grand Rapids run to the Calder Cup, will not be protected.

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