With Seattle gaining an expansion franchise, it will be allowed to draft players from 30 of the other teams to create their team. Why only 30? Because the Vegas Golden Knights will only be through their fourth season, the NHL is allowing them to be exempt from the draft. Vegas will not enjoy any of the financial benefits from the expansion fees, however.
The 2021 NHL Expansion Draft will be governed by the same rules as those used for the Knights in 2017. Seattle will be allowed to draft one player from each team, totaling 14 forwards, nine defensemen, and three goalies. Twenty of the players chosen must be under contract for the 2021-22 season. When all is said and done, the players Seattle selects must equal 60-100% of the salary cap.
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Current teams have options in whom they protect. The first option is to protect seven fowards, three defensemen, and one goalie. Or, they can choose to keep eight skaters (forwards/defensemen) and one goalie. There are some extra stipulations. First, any players with no-movement clauses who do not waive the option must be protected. This will count against the team’s limit they can protect. Secondly, all first- and second-year NHL players and all unsigned draft selections will be exempt from the Expansion Draft. This will not be counted against the team’s protected list.
Additionally, there are minimums each team must meet. One defensemen who is under contract and played in either 40 games the prior season or 70 games the last two season must be exposed. Also, two forwards under the same circumstances listed for defensemen are to be open in the Expansion Draft.
Finally, each team must expose one goalie who is under contract or will be an RFA prior to the 2021-22 season.
These rules are major issues for the Nashville Predators.