With the NHL Expansion Draft for the Seattle Kraken looming, everyone is wondering who from their team they won’t see in their colors next season. Team staff and players have got to be wondering the same thing, as they look to set up who will be protected and who they might see leaving. This is the same with the Carolina Hurricanes, while the only team that doesn’t need to wonder is the Las Vegas Golden Knights.
NHL Expansion Draft: Carolina Hurricanes Likely Protected Players
The Hurricanes have a solid team, with a chance to push for the cup. This post-season the team went out in the quarter-finals to the former Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning. As such, the organization will look to protect their key players, including captain Jordan Staal, the only player with a no-move clause in his contract on top of having some stellar performances in the playoffs. As well, Jake Gardiner’s contract may provide a complication, as he can submit seven teams which he does not wish to move to and the organization will be unable to move.
As well, the Hurricanes have some of their top talents still on entry-level contracts including top forwards Martin Necas and Andrei Svechnikov, as well as top prospect Ryan Suzuki and breakout player Morgan Geekie. In defense, newly dressed player Jake Bean is still protected, as well as Joey Keane and Maxime Lajoie. However, in terms of goalies, the Hurricanes currently do not have any roster goalies that are protected by an entry-level contract.
The Hurricanes have a lot of depth in the forward position, especially within their top six. When thinking of this, the team is certainly going to protect all-stars Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Terravainen, and their captain Jordan Staal. As well, after the high-scoring season, he has had, the organization is likely to protect Vincent Trocheck.
In terms of leadership, the team may look to protect Jordan Martinook, as well as senior player Brock McGinn and as their final protected forward the team is likely to pick Nino Niederreiter. These players have all made solid contributions to their team, as well as showing that they can work effectively together in order to guard a lead or push from behind to take a victory.
The Hurricanes defense has looked strong, with some of the top line pairings in the league in the past couple of seasons. As such, in the coming NHL expansion draft, the team has two obvious picks for who they’ll protect. The two players being Jaccob Slavin and Dougie Hamilton. These two defensemen have been the top performers for their team throughout their tenure with the Hurricanes organization, and have made a large amount of progress towards being known as one of the best defensive pairings in league history. The two have to lead the league with their plus-minus scores for multiple seasons, and can solidly contribute to either the power play or short-handed units.
The third defensemen to be protected is largely up for debate, as the second defensive pairing has largely been in rotation, but the two players that it would come down to are Brady Skjei and Brett Pesce, as the two have made some amazing performances in the league, and both are very capable of growth, with both being close to the same age. Purely from a stats-based perspective, the team will likely protect Brett Pesce, as he has been more consistent across the past three seasons.
As the NHL expansion draft rules state, the Hurricanes may only protect one goalie from being taken in by the new organization. This position would have been an easy decision before this season, however, after some amazing performances by rookie Alex Nedeljkovic, the 25-year old goalie has made the choice more challenging. From a performance and growth standpoint, the young goalie has the most time left in his career and has had some amazing performances in the past season.
However, veteran goalie Petr Mrazek is also a likely target for any team that needs a solid goalie tandem as he has shown his skill, and has had time to perfect his form. The Hurricanes are most likely going to protect Nedeljkovic, as Mrazek’s higher contract sees him being less likely to go in the NHL expansion draft, however, there is still a chance for a surprise in this position.
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