If I were MCGM: Expansion Draft Edition

This summer, I’m going to take on the various happenings around the Montreal Canadiens before they happen. I’ve decided to call this “If I were MCGM” or if I were the Montreal Canadiens General Manager. With the feature, I hope to provide some of how I would manage the expansion draft, the draft, restricted free agents, unrestricted free agents, roster moves, and impending contract situations. Tonight, I examine the expansion draft.

Draft Rules

Before getting into this, here a few rules from the expansion draft, as found on the NHL.com website, that are important to consider before deciding on the fate of the roster. The first rule of is an obvious one but Vegas only gets one player from the available names. Then I must consider that Lindgren, McCarron, and Lehkonen are protected due to being in their first 2 professional seasons. Where it becomes more complicated is the exposed list since at least 1 defenceman and 2 forwards under contract with a minimum of 40 games in 2016-2017 must be exposed. Here we go.

Protection List

For the creation of this list, I’ve chosen option A from the NHL website which is the 7 forwards, 3 defensemen and a goaltender to be protected. The goaltender is obvious as Carey Price is on the list. Same goes for the top 2 defenders in Shea Weber and Jeff Petry, as well as the top 4 forwards of Pacioretty, Galchenyuk, Gallagher, Danault.

Andrew Shaw – Shaw cost the Montreal Canadiens way too much in draft picks. That was the consensus even before watching DeBrincat at the Memorial Cup. Then consider the contract that was given to him, and this is a terrible situation. Shaw played much better after Julien’s arrival and will get another shot.

Paul Byron – Byron brings more to the table than his salary and therefore I’m opting to protect value.

Jordie Benn – One of the reasons for most of my decisions is salary cap value. Benn is a positive value contract, he gets my last D spot.

Alexander Radulov – This roster can’t afford to lose this player. Sign him and protect him before the draft. Otherwise, I get creative and protect Hudon who will undoubtedly need to play an offensive role on my roster as soon as next season.

Exposed List

Tomas Plekanec – While solid away from the puck, Plekanec’s 6M cap hit requires him to be far more productive than what he showed in the regular season, playoff and world championship. If Vegas wants a player at 5M who counts as 6M, they would be doing Bergevin a huge favour. I would be willing to part ways with a late round pick to get McPhee to bite here.

Alexei Emelin – Much like Plekanec, Emelin’s play on the ice will be missed by the team, but his value is negative. On a team trying to be contenders, too many negative value contracts are handcuffing their ability to sign the center that will really get their hopes up.

Nathan Beaulieu – I dislike placing Beaulieu on the list. I think he has played his last game in a Canadiens uniform, but if I’m trading before this draft. His contract is not something that can’t be moved. Keeping his name on this list is giving Vegas an easy out to my otherwise difficult list to choose from. Taking a 1M dollar cap hit with some top-4 potential is a no brainer. Get him out of here before that happens.

Torrey Mitchell – No room left to protect Mitchell and if he goes, McCarron gets more ice-time and Ott can be re-signed. Plus, I need to add a name that has played 40 games last season.

Charles Hudon – This is the best prospect in the organization, one that could potentially alleviate some roster needs in scoring some goals without costing too much money. Yet he finds himself on this list if I can resign Radulov because he’s been injury-prone and hasn’t been able to crack my roster yet. I hope he stays though.

Al Montoya – I had to expose a goaltender and this is not the end of the world if he is selected since Lindgren outplayed him last year anyways. The only downer would be to have Lindgren in Montreal, where he won’t play enough games to continue his development.

Stay tuned as I explore pending free agents next week and will attempt to update my disastrous playoff reports soon.

Thanks for reading,

Kevin Léveillé

Follow me on Twitter: @kev1586