Saturday afternoon marked the day that teams had to decide which players would be protected ahead of the Expansion Draft for the Seattle Kraken. The Flyers and 29 other teams – the Vegas Golden Knights are exempt – had the choice of protecting seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie or eight skaters and one goalie.
These lists were released on Sunday morning, and the Flyers had no surprises on their list.
The Flyers have protected forwards Claude Giroux, Kevin Hayes, Sean Couturier, Travis Konecny, Oskar Lindblom, Scott Laughton and Nicolas Aube-Kubel. They have also protected defensemen Ivan Provorov, Travis Sanheim and the newly-acquired Ryan Ellis, as well as goalie Carter Hart. Players such as Joel Farabee, Wade Allison and Cam York, who have two years or less of pro hockey experience, do not need to be protected and will remain with the team.
Among the players exposed to expansion are some of the big contracts on the team. It is no surprise to see names like Jake Voracek, James van Riemsdyk and Shayne Gostisbehere available for Seattle to take. There are also players like Justin Braun and Robert Hagg who can be claimed by Seattle that carry much smaller cap hits.
It has been rumored that the Flyers would like to shed salary and unload a big contract to add more cap flexibility. In Seattle’s case, that might require a sweetener in a deal, for example the team’s 13th overall pick in the first round of Friday’s NHL Draft, to complete such a task.
The Expansion Draft will take place on Wednesday night at 8 p.m. and be televised on ESPN2. Seattle will take one player from each team – with the strong possibility of several side deals taking place that could provide Seattle with more assets – making 30 selections on the night.
Once the Expansion Draft is complete, the league-wide trade freeze and signing freeze – which began yesterday at 3 p.m. – will end at 1 p.m. on Thursday, just ahead of the NHL Draft on Friday and Saturday. Free agency then opens a week later on Wednesday, July 28.