The Bruins are one of many teams in the NHL who will likely protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender, since going with eight skaters (which teams with deep defensive corps) will leave one of their top goal scorers vulnerable.
Boston has three forwards in David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron and David Backes who have no movement clauses, which have to be protected under the expansion draft guidelines. These players can be exposed if they agree to waive this protection, but it is unlikely that GM Don Sweeney would do so with Bergeron (the club’s top center) and Backes, who was brought in as a free agent last July.
Krejci, who has another four years remaining at $7.25 Million could be asked to waive his NMC because it is unlikely that Vegas would claim such an expensive contract. That would allow Sweeney to protect a player more likely to be on George McPhee’s radar.
If Boston does protect seven forwards, Brad Marchand, restricted free agents David Pastrnak and Ryan Spooner are locks, leaving Sweeney to choose between Matt Beleskey or Jimmy Hayes, who collectively scored just five goals last season.
Boston has easy decisions on the first two blueliners to be protected. Team captain Zdeno Chara is in the final year of his contract a no-movement clause and diminutive Torey Krug is an offensive catalyst who achieved the career-high 51 points last season and has another three years left on his contract.
Sweeney must decide between veteran Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller and Colin Miller for the third spot. McQuaid, 30, is one of the few remaining pieces from the Bruins Cup winning squad of 2011 and a sizable chunk of their toughness on the blueline, the elder Miller is in the second year of a four-year, $10 Million contract and the other Miller is just 24 years old.
Projected protected players and their cap hits
David Krejci (NMC) – $7,250,000 through 2021
Patrice Berger (NMC) – $6,875,000 through 2022
Brad Marchand – $6,125,000 through 2025
David Backes (NMC) – $6,000,000 through 2021
David Pastrnak – RFA
Ryan Spooner – RFA
Riley Nash – $900,000 through 2018
Torey Krug – $5,250,000 through 2020
Zdeno Chara (NMC) – $4,000,000 through 2018
Adam McQuaid – $2,750,000 through 2019
Tuukka Rask – $7,000,000 through 2021
Likely Expansion loss for Boston
It is probable that the Vegas Golden Knights will whenever possible try to get players early on in their career who can grow with their franchise and possibly be contributors years down the line, but GM George McPhee will also be looking for players with little term left on their contract, so that he can flip them at the trade deadline next February or March for draft picks or prospects.
Using that logic, the three most likely selections off the Bruins roster will be Hayes, Colin Miller and Subban.
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