The Boston Bruins have officially moved into offseason mode with several RFA signings and some key NHL dates staring them dead ahead during the current month of July. The B’s have a little more than two weeks to finalize their NHL Expansion Draft protection list with those names due on July 17, and the Seattle Kraken expansion draft itself set for Wednesday, July 21 at 8 pm.
The NHL Draft weekend takes place just a couple days later and NHL free agency is exactly a week after the NHL expansion draft, so there will be a massively busy two week period for All NHL Situation Rooms as 29 teams await the end of the Stanley Cup Final between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens.
With the Seattle expansion draft next on the agenda for the Black and Gold, here’s a look at the likely protection list for the Boston Bruins at this point with the caveat that things could always change based on signings, trades or unforeseen circumstances. Our friends at PuckPedia have done a great job creating a tool where anybody can try their own hand at a mock expansion draft for each of the 31 NHL teams.
Here’s the simple choice for the Bruins along with every other team: Protect one goaltender and A) eight skaters at any position with at least four defensemen or B) seven forwards and three defensemen. It’s pretty safe to assume that the B’s are going to opt for Plan B where they can protect 10 total skaters, especially given the current situation where they won’t need to protect unsigned UFAs like Taylor Hall, David Krejci or Tuukka Rask with free agency taking place a week after the expansion draft.
“We have tough decision to make all the way across the board, as does every team. I think we all experienced that going through the Vegas expansion [draft],” said Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney, as they memorably lost Colin Miller to the Golden Knights that time around. “So, you’re going to lose a good player. We’ve come to a decision like we did last time.
“The rules are there for their benefit and you just have to try and hope that they pick one guy that you might have depth to replace. Or you have to go to [the free agent] market to replace. But I think we’re going to stick with exposing the one player and move on from that.”
Here’s our look at each position for the B’s expansion draft plans: