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.
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) June 18, 2017
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.
— Jeff Paterson (@patersonjeff) June 18, 2017
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.