Photo Credit: Toronto Sun

List of Protected Canucks Players Released

At 7:30 this morning, the NHL released the lists of protected and unprotected players for the upcoming expansion draft for the Vegas Golden Knights, the 31st NHL franchise.

Under NHL rule, you could either protect.

1. Seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender


2. Eight skaters (forwards/defensemen) and one goaltender

Here’s the breakdown of the Canucks unprotected/protected players.

There were no surprises on the Canucks end of things and most of these players will fall deep under the radars of the Golden Knights. Most people think the decision comes down to two players. Defenceman Luca Sbisa and Forward Brendan Gaunce.

Sbisa performed at higher levels than expected at points last season, and the Canucks organization seems to like him. However, he’s shown great inconsistency and mental errors have cost the team many times. Despite this, he is young but can provide some experience to an expansion franchise.

Gaunce has shown bursts of his potential at points during his tenure in Vancouver, but he has not sustained enough consistency to earn a long-term NHL spot with the team. However, with the team getting younger and rebuilding, perhaps now is his best opportunity to grow with the Canucks.

Perhaps the one dark horse could be Reid Boucher, who has a surprising 2016-17 campaign and could be a good young piece for the Knights. However, it would be surprising to see them select Boucher due to his inexperience and lack of consistent play.

Whomever the Knights choose to select, the Canucks could use picks and prospects to lure them away from their biggest available players. However, compared to other teams situations, the Canucks are not in a dire position to hold on to any of their unprotected players.


  • Bud Poile


    • Tedchinook

      The only surprises on the ex Canucks list or the Canucks list are that Kassian was protected by Edmonton and Bieksa was protected by Anaheim. Obviously not my call but I would have gambled on both of them not being that attractive to a new franchise.

        • Tedchinook

          I don’t think a no trade clause would matter – my understanding was it was only players with full no movement clauses that had to be protected. And Kassian was good in the playoffs but is still a solid 3rd liner at best, so I’m still a bit surprised.

          • Puck Viking

            Bieska has a no move so they have to protect him, but they have worked out a deal with LV so that they select the player the ducks want them to.

            Kassian is better than any other player they the Oil stand to loose, so there is no surprise. They are probably giving LV something so that they take Pouliot to shed cap space.

      • Freud

        It was never about the player, it was about the process. But we wouldn’t expect the simple minded to understand. Especially when they are here to derive some self-esteem from a simple minded, contrarian position to every opinion offered up.

        • TheRealPB

          Being slavishly loyal to ‘process’ is as foolish as it is to believe in ‘grit’ and ‘truculence’. Because focusing on process regardless of outcome makes zero sense. Losing Corrado meant very little to this franchise despite all the ink spilled; the main victim in all of it was Corrado himself who was woefully misused by the Leafs not the Canucks. Sure he was flipped for some assets down the line but at what cost to his career? I would hope that if we had any respect for not only the sport we love but the players too that would not be held as an exemplar of how one should treat a player.

    • Pat Quinn Way

      Oh what a surprise – another day another troll from this ultimate loser who could not wait to post this garbage in another pathetic attempt to laughably try to show us that Benning the clown is a good GM lol – the vast majority here and the STAFF KNOW this guy is a disaster so why bother idiot WHAT IS YOUR AGENDA?!

      Just LOOK at the UNprotected list guys, it’s hands down the worst of any club in the league and i bet McPhee wishes he didn’t have to take any of these slugs. Come to think of it the protected list isn’t that great either… a sure sign that our club is in it’s worst state in DECADES and not getting better, as a 28th and 29th place finish have clearly shown us.

      It’s a real shame that a douche like Dud who doesn’t even live in BC ffs (check the timeof posting) gets to rip the sh*t out of this forum every day whilst ticket sales are getting frighteningly bad down at the Rog after YEARS of sellouts and fabulous hockey under the previous regime… pathetic excuse for ahuman being he is. Get rid of Benning and this twerp BUD NOW!!!

      • kablebike

        Calm down and let it slide. Every team has a cycle (up and down) of development and success dependent upon their drafting and development process. This team is at a low after many years of success. That’s hockey, especially in a cap era. I for one am glad that the crowds are thinner and I don’t have to rub shoulders with some clowns taking selfies and watching 20 minutes of a 60 minute game while catching up on hairstyles, clothes, corporate swag, Twatter, and Faceybook postings.

  • Lund

    We should be thankful the Canucks are so bad now…. no chance of losing a good player, like Anaheim, Chicago, Columbus, etc… haha
    If this expansion draft was 2010/2011 …. whole different story for Canucks nation.

    • Killer Marmot

      The reason that the Canucks are not going to lose a good player is because many of its most interesting players are too young to be eligible for this draft, as you would expect in a rebuilding team. E.g.: Hutton, Stecher, Boeser, Joulevi, Demko, Dahlen, Goldobin, Gaudette.

  • DJ_44

    Now it gets really interesting. Looking at the list, I wonder what deals Vegas will (or has already) extort.

    Florida went 8-1 (and protected Psysk)? NYI went 8-1 and protected 5 defenceman (still leaving deHaan exposed). Leafs protect Matt Martin (gulp). And the Pens must know VGK will take Fluery, but there are some attractive forwards available there.

    Benning was criticized last week for his “Take your lumps” comment, regarding you are going to lose somebody (in the whole “lose and asset for nothing” crap. It appears that most GMs have agreed.

    • Puck Viking

      LV is expected to add at least 3 first round picks for not taking players. CBJ, NYI, and I would assume Ducks, Wild will be added to that list maybe even more.

  • Unprotected players of interest to me: Sami Vatanen, Shane Doan, Radim Vrbata, Matt Moulson, Troy Brouwer, both Cam Ward and Eddie Lack, Roberto Luongo, Patrick Sharp, analytical darling Jason Demers, Matt Dumba, Marion Gaborik, Alexander Radulov, Nicklas Jensen, Michael Grabner, Nick Bonino, Alex Burrows. Also, T.J. Oshie, and Kevin Shattenkirk. Wow!

  • Freud

    Craig Button: One thing Benning said was you’re going to lose somebody, why do I want to trade or maneuver around?

    Yep, that pretty much sums up the last number of years. No creativity, no attempts to think outside the box or take advantage of your situation.

    • Fortitude00

      holy crap dude if anything Benning has been too creative trying to trade draft picks for young 20’s players to help speed the turn around. Some people are just blind to the situation he took over. No one can say he’s done a bad job and no one can say he’s done a great job.
      When rebuilding it just comes down to how your draft picks pan out.

    • Bud Poile

      14 of the ex-Canucks I listed Benning traded or let go and near all of them can be picked up by Vegas for nothing.
      Nine of those players Benning got players in return.Burrows/Hansen returned promising prospects.
      The only player worth tangible assets that we may lose is Sbisa and we can be sure Benning tried and chose not to trade Tanev as the return was not enough to mitigate the loss of Sbisa.
      Good on Benning to give TSN’s Button squat to work with.
      He’s learned not to feed the media trolls that could care less about Benning and the Canucks franchise.

    • Canuck4Life20

      Benning already traded Hansen at the deadline for a solid return. What more would you have him do? Start offering up draft picks to prevent Gaunce or Sbisa from being taken? The majority of teams are set up to lose a lot better player than those two or will have to give up valuable draft picks to ensure that they don’t. Do you think their blogs have whiny commentators with mommy issues criticizing their GM’s lack of action as well?

  • Fortitude00

    Vegas will have one of the best young defences in the NHL this year. With players like Dumba, R Murray, Vaatanen and whomever else they will have a stronger group then the Canucks. There really is so many d men available I doubt Sbisa even gets a second look. I would think it comes down to Boucher or Rodin(did they see enough?).
    I don’t think Gaunce would interest anyone the guy can’t score. Really who cares who they take none of the guys exposed are worth worrying about and only a couple of the Canucks protected players are worth talking about.

    • DJ_44

      Sbisa checks too many boxes for them not to take him. Many of the young D-men listed can be flipped to other teams for better forward options, or there are other options on their teams to select. In the puzzle that is the expansion draft, all the pieces must fit together.

    • Neil B

      Murray & Vaatanen are safe; CBJ and ANA are giving up first rounders to keep Vegas at bay. The Dumba question is based on whether he will get more selling him than if he leaves him alone. I don’t expect him to suit up as a Knight any more than Marchessault.

  • wojohowitz

    Vegas could end up drafting 15 defencemen, 4 goalies and 11 forwards and then spend the next two months untangling the mess to build a roster that can compete.

    • Bud Poile

      The Knights will pick one from each of the other 30 teams in the so-called expansion draft — for a minimum of 14 forwards, nine defencemen and three goaltenders due for submission Wednesday at 10 a.m. ET.

  • TheRealPB

    It’s mostly shocking to me how much the league has set up LV to be successful in a way I have never seen in any expansion team. You’d maybe get one or two fringe decent players but it is actually astounding that teams would stand to lose a quality young player that they have spent many years investing in. Florida, Tampa, CBJ and Nashville (not to mention Atlanta) should all ask for some back-benefits…

    • defenceman factory

      I agree LV is getting a better start than maybe any other expansion franchise has. I speculate this must have been negotiated with the league owners in exchange for the $500 million franchise fee. Each owner is already receiving over $16 million. Is that enough?

      • LTFan

        Exactly! It is all about money for the owners. They all know that any player they lose in the expansion draft they will probably be able to replace in 2 or 3 years at most.

  • RIP

    I am very surprised more are not worried that we lose Gaunce. By far that would be the biggest hit to our organization. Yes he did not score last season while on a checking line with a clear mandate of defence first. Trust me that kid has skills and will be a solid 2 way second or more likely 3rd line center. Also short term he will be cheap. I hope they take Sbisa or Boucher ahead of Gaunce but man will it sting if they take Gaunce.

    • kablebike

      I am not worried about losing anyone on the team from the unprotected list. I certainly would not expect Benning et al., to give McPhee anything in the expansion process. The draft, however, is absolutely exciting!

    • DJ_44

      I get it; an attempt at humour. VGK will pick Sbisa. Sbisa will play in their bottom pairing (#5,#6,#7) and he will play well. They might even flip him at the TDL, or re-sign him to an extension.

  • LTFan

    Now that the protected / unprotected lists have been published – we, the fans are in the loop – sort of. I think that some teams have already done some sort of a deal with LV. It would be a surprise if LV didn’t know who they are going to take from each team and could do so right now.