NHL Expansion Draft – Buffalo Sabres

Expansion Draft Rules

All information from NHL.com

Protected Lists

  • Clubs can protect one of two options:
    • Seven forwards, three defensemen, and one goaltender
    • Eight skaters and one goaltender
  • All players with No-Movement clauses in their contract have to be protected unless they waive their clauses
  • All first- and second-year pro players will be exempt from selections and don’t have to be protected

Player Exposure Requirements

  • Clubs must meet minimum requirements for exposure in the Expansion Draft:
    • One defenseman who is under contract in 2017-18 and played in 40 or more games in 2016-17 or played in 70 or more games in two prior seasons.
    • Two forwards who meet the same requirements as above
    • One goaltender who is under contract in 2017-18 or will be a restricted free agent at the expiration of his current contract immediately prior to 2017-18.

Vegas Requirements

  • Must select one player from each existing club for a total of 30 players
  • Must select at least 14 forwards, 9 defensemen, and 3 goaltenders
  • Must have a minimum 20 players under contract for the 2017-18 season
  • Must reach the salary cap floor and cannot exceed the cap ceiling
  • May not buy out any players selected in the Expansion Draft before the first summer following their first full season

Protection List

  • NMC= No Movement Clause
  • NTC= No Trade Clause
  • Red = Who I would protect


POS Age Name Cap Hit Expiration 40/70
C 26 Ryan O’Reilly $7,500,000 UFA – 2023 X
RW 28 NMC – Kyle Okposo $6,000,000 UFA – 2023 X
LW 25 Evander Kane $5,250,000 UFA – 2018 X
LW 33 Matt Moulson $5,000,000 UFA – 2019 X
C 27 Tyler Ennis $4,600,000 UFA – 2019 X
RW 38 Brian Gionta $4,250,000 UFA – 2017 X
LW 25 Marcus Foligno $2,250,000 RFA – 2017 X
C 23 Zemgus Girgensons $1,150,000 RFA – 2017 X
LW 24 Johan Larsson $950,000 RFA – 2017 X
LW 26 Nicolas Deslauriers $775,000 UFA – 2018 X
C 30 Cal O’Reilly $700,000 UFA – 2017 29GR
LW 22 William Carrier $689,167 RFA – 2018 X
C 26 Derek Grant $650,000 UFA – 2017 X
C 23 Justin Kea $646,667 RFA – 2017 40GR
LW 26 Cole Schneider $600,000 UFA – 2017 36GR


POS Age Name Cap Hit Expiration 40/70
D 22 Rasmus Ristolainen $5,400,000 UFA – 2022 X
D 26 Zach Bogosian $5,142,857 UFA – 2020 X
D 26 Dmitry Kulikov $4,333,333 UFA – 2017 X
D 32 Josh Gorges $3,900,000 UFA – 2018 X
D 29 Cody Franson $3,325,000 UFA – 2017 X
D 23 Jake McCabe $1,600,000 RFA – 2019 X
D 28 Justin Falk $650,000 UFA – 2018 X
D 23 Brady Austin $626,667 RFA – 2017 35GR
D 27 Matt Bodie $600,000 UFA – 2017 40GR
D 28 Taylor Fedun $600,000 UFA – 2017 13GR


POS Age Name Cap Hit Expiration
G 25 Robin Lehner $2,225,000 RFA – 2017
G 27 Anders Nilsson $1,000,000 UFA – 2017
G 23 Linus Ullmark $775,833 RFA – 2017

Exempt List

  • C Cody McCormick
  • C Jack Eichel
  • RW Alex Nylander
  • RW Hudson Fasching
  • C Sam Reinhart
  • C Evan Rodrigues
  • RW Nicholas Baptiste
  • C Eric Cornel
  • LW Vaclav Karabacek
  • RW Justin Bailey
  • LW Jean Dupuy
  • D Brendan Guhle
  • D Brycen Martin
  • D Casey Nelson
  • D Erik Burgdoerfer
  • G Jason Kasdorf

Explanation of my Protection List

  • Ryan O’Reilly, Kyle Okposo (NMC), Tyler Ennis, Marcus Folignno, and Zemgus Girgensons were all easy choices.  I also think Evander Kane is an easy pick to be protected because, even though he has given every NHL team has played on problems, the Sabres don’t want to give him away for nothing.  My pick for the seventh forward (I think they will go with the seven forwards/three defensemen option) was tough and it came down to Johan Larsson or Nicolas Deslauriers.  I decided to protect Larsson because he is younger and I think that Vegas would snatch him up.  On defense, the Sabres have five defensemen under contract through the 2017-18 season but will only have the ability to protect three.  I chose to pick Rasmus Ristolainen, Zach Bogosian, and Jake McCabe, as all should be key pieces of the team’s future and the oldest of the group is just 26 (Bogosian).  In net, I’m not real fond of any of the Sabres’ goaltenders but think that they will protect Robin Lehner since he is their starter and they acquired him in a trade.
  • This means that Buffalo will leave Matt Moulson, Deslauriers, and William Carrier unprotected at forward, plus all of their UFAs.  On defense, Josh Gorges and Justin Falk will be exposed and the team will have to sign one of the Anders Nilsson or Linus Ullmark to a contract to meet exposure requirements in net.
  • I actually think that the Sabres could come out of the Expansion Draft as a better team than they enter it and are one of the teams best suited for it.  They will probably be hoping that Vegas takes Matt Moulson and his contract that has two years and $10 million left on it.  Perhaps GM Tim Murray will make a deal with Vegas GM George McPhee to take Moulson, allowing Buffalo to keep their young forwards.  If that doesn’t happen, the Sabres could also benefit from losing Josh Gorges, who has one more year left on his contract which will pay him $3.9 million next season.

*All cap and salary information come from CapFriendly.com*


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