It’s official. The Protected players from all 30 NHL organizations have been released. Which New York Rangers player will be selected?The day has finally come. The protected players from Las Vegas Golden Knights expansion draft have been released.
The New York Rangers have protected to following players:
Rangers' protected list:
— Rick Carpiniello (@RickCarpiniello) June 18, 2017
No surprises here. The list is exactly as expected by many Rangers fans and analysts.
This leaves the following players exposed to Las Vegas come Wednesday night:
Grabner, Puempel, Fast, Raanta, Klein, Lindberg among those unprotected by the Rangers
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) June 18, 2017
The Fast hip surgery throws a wrench into his value. However, if Vegas is willing to place a long-term bet on Fast, they could still grab the young talented forward.
Grabner, showcasing his scoring ability and speed last season could be a high-risk choice for Vegas. Yet, Grabner could also disappear just as quickly as he appeared. Raanta was a speculative Vegas favorite for the last months or so and still remains a viable target. However, with Marc-Andre Fleury likely headed to Vegas and other valuable unprotected goalies such as Detroit’s Petr Mrazek, Raanta may be safe in New York.
The best bet for Vegas is likely Oscar Lindberg. A young talented forward who has proven to be a solid bottom six player with a high potential to improve.
Now don’t forget this is the NHL. Nothing can be certain until the official roster is selected at the expansion draft on Wednesday. Golden Knights GM George McPhee has already eluded to the possibility of many behind the scenes deals and trades to be constructed.
“Vegas has indicated that they will give all 30 clubs every opportunity to keep their rosters intact if they'd like.”—VGK Organization
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) June 17, 2017
Simply put there is no way to predict what Vegas is thinking or doing behind closed doors. Additionally, there are likely many deals being formulated behind the scenes with the other 30 NHL franchises. Remember regular trading can resume Thursday, Jun. 22 at 8 a.m. ET and the free agency period begins Jul. 1.
The next few days will be filled with speculation, rumors and a boat-load of garbage. Stay tuned and enjoy the ride. Changes are to come.