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Weekly Question: Who are you willing to give up in the expansion draft?

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With the expansion draft looming in June, which Senators players are you willing to part with?

NHL: Washington Capitals at Ottawa Senators
Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

General Fanager is no longer available to the public after the Las Vegas hockey team hired Tom Poraszka last week. One of the coolest tools they had on that site was the mock expansion draft you could do in order to get ready for the 2017 draft in June. However, Cap Friendly has developed a similar tool, and it got me thinking about who the Senators should protect at the end of the season.

Things can change over the course of the season, but the Senators are certainly already thinking about who they are going to protect. We can do the same right now and talk about which player we are most willing to give up to the new Vegas team.

Each team is only going to get one player drafted from their team, so nobody is going to get decimated which is good. But there are some other rules that we need to be aware of:

  • Each team needs to have two forwards, one defenseman, and one goaltender who have played either 40 games last season or 70 games in the prior two seasons exposed, and they must be under contract for the 2017-18 season (although the goalie can be an RFA).
  • Each team can protect seven forwards, three defensemen, and one goalie or eight skaters and one goalie
  • Player’s with NMC’s must be protected
  • First/second year professionals and unsigned junior players are exempt

With those in mind, there is a slight problem for Ottawa right now. Ottawa needs to expose two forwards who fit the games played/contract status requirement, and only four of them fit the bill. Kyle Turris, Derick Brassard, Mike Hoffman, and Mark Stone are of course going to be protected. However, they are the only four current forwards who are under contract for next year and have played enough games.

The good news is there is a way to work around this. If Curtis Lazar gets re-signed before the draft, he becomes eligible. And the same goes for Tom Pyatt, Ryan Dzingel, Chris Kelly, and Chris Neil (assuming Pyatt and Dzingel play 40 games). So everything should be fine, as long as two of the aforementioned get re-signed during the season.

Then the question becomes: who are you willing to give up to Las Vegas?

Clarke MacArthur

He should be an obvious lock to protect, but if he doesn’t return this year (or returns for a handful of games), Ottawa might just risk losing him because his future outlook isn’t great. Of course we know how good he can be when he’s healthy, but Ottawa doesn’t know if he will ever get back to that.

Considering how well Zack Smith has played, I think he should take MacArthur’s spot just because of the uncertainty surrounding him. Would you be willing to let him go?

Curtis Lazar

Lazar seems like the most likely of Senators to go, to be honest. There’s almost no chance he gets protected and Vegas might want to take a flier on the young forward. He still has time to prove that he’s worth playing in the NHL, but I wouldn’t mind taking the risk in losing him (as of now).

Marc Methot

Methot looks like he’d be a great pick for Vegas, although after doing the mock expansion draft, it’s clear there are going to be some very good defensemen available. Due to that, Ottawa might be able to keep Methot after all.

But if he keeps playing like he did last year, the situation with him becomes worrisome.

Cody Ceci

In reality I doubt that they let Ceci become exposed, because it’ll be either him or Methot. However, if he doesn’t improve his play over the next six months, then maybe Ottawa opts to keep the veteran defenseman. Like I mentioned with Methot, I can’t see Ceci being taken just because the depth of defensemen available, but perhaps GM George McPhee likes what he sees.

While keeping his age in mind and relative upside, would you mind giving up Ceci?

Ryan Dzingel

Dzingel has looked impressive so far, but it’s unlikely he gets protected. He’ll have to outplay Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Zack Smith for one of the last two spots. I love how he plays his game and it’ll be tough to expose him, although ultimately I doubt he will be taken by Vegas.

However, the possibility still exists that he could be gone.