Expansion Draft: Predicting who the Flyers will protect and expose
The Philadelphia Flyers will submit their protection list for the 2021 Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft today. Chuck Fletcher and the Flyers have a pretty straightforward list, but could there be any surprises?
About a month ago, we projected the Flyers’ protection list. Our projections were pretty straightforward as well. It sure looks like those projections will stand.
Let’s take one last look at the Flyers’ projected protection list and who they will leave exposed to the Seattle Kraken.
Predicting the Flyers’ Protected Player List
The Flyers are set up to elect the 7-3-1 option (seven forwards, three defensemen, one goalie) for protecting their players. This is opposed to the 8-1 option (eight skaters of any position and one goalie). The Flyers only have three defensemen worth protecting, making it a pretty easy decision.
Giroux is the face of the Flyers and has a no-movement clause. No-brainer.
Hayes has had a good season and a not-so-good season so far in his two years in Philadelphia. His $7.1 million cap hit through 2026 would’ve made him an interesting name to watch, but he has a no-movement clause as well.
Couturier doesn’t have a no-movement clause, but he’s the Flyers’ most important forward and top-line center. His $4.3 million cap hit is a steal, but the Flyers will have to pony up for him next offseason with his contract expiring.
Konecny had an up-and-down performance last season, but he’s still a promising young player. He’s shown flashes of top-line potential and at worst can play on the second or third line.
Lindblom is one of the best stories in sports and still has his entire career ahead of him. He’s a solid middle-six winger that will be a part of the Flyers for years to come.
Chuck Fletcher and the Flyers committed to Laughton with a five-year contract extension in April. Fletcher said Laughton will be protected.
The 2017 No. 2 overall pick has been a bust so far, but the Flyers have to protect him. They might trade him later in the offseason, but they can’t afford to let him be exposed to Seattle for no return.
Provorov is the Flyers’ only top-pair defenseman on the roster right now. He has to be protected.
Sanheim had an up-and-down season but has the skills to be a top-four defenseman. He’s played on both sides and is a candidate to bounce back in a big way next season.
Myers’ name has come up in some trade talks, but the Flyers will protect him. The tall right-handed defenseman may be used as a trade chip this offseason.
Who else? Hart is the only NHL goalie on the roster. A source confirmed to Philly Hockey Now that Brian Elliott will likely test free agency.
Predicting notable Flyers players left exposed
There are a few names that jump off the screen on the Flyers’ projected exposed list. The Seattle Kraken will have a few quality players to choose from.
Will the Flyers make a move before Saturday’s NHL roster freeze?
The Flyers are looking to move Voracek this offseason if they can. He’ll be a great top-six option for the Kraken. Voracek has a $8.25 million cap hit through 2024 and is still an effective top-six winger. For Seattle, he’d likely settle in on the top line as one of their best players.
Like Voracek, JVR has a large contract ($7 million cap hit through 2023) that the Flyers may look to move this offseason. James van Riemsdyk is the player that is the most likely to be selected by Seattle.
Aube-Kubel is a cheap, low-risk option for the Kraken. The bottom-six grinder has a low cap hit ($1.075 million) and is a restricted free agent next summer. He was a second-round pick and had back-to-back 38-goal seasons in the QMJHL. He may fit the Vegas blueprint of a breakout player to watch.
Gostisbehere has a reasonable cap hit ($4.5 million) through 2023 for a team like Seattle that shouldn’t be close to the cap ceiling. The offensive defenseman could quarterback Seattle’s power play as a bottom-four defenseman. In the right system, he can still be a valuable player. With Dave Hakstol behind the bench, Seattle may steer clear.
Seattle taking Braun from the Flyers would likely be doing them a favor. It’ll open up a spot on the blue line that needs a lot of work this summer and the 34-year-old defenseman wouldn’t be sorely missed.
Hagg may be Hakstol’s guy. It’s a longshot, but the defensive defenseman is mostly responsible in his own end and a known quantity. However, as with Braun, losing Hagg in the Expansion Draft would be a net positive for the Flyers.
Photo: Heather Barry Images