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Ritchie, Lauzon & Clifton Highlight Boston Bruins Expansion List

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After much speculation, the Boston Bruins have submitted their protection list for next week’s Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft and there are several key roster players in danger of being lost to the NHL’s newest franchise.

Headlining the list of available players are power forward Nick Ritchie along with defenseman Connor Clifton and Jeremy Lauzon. It’s expected that one of those three young players will be selected by the Kraken with everybody else then protected on Boston’s roster once they’ve lost one player to Seattle.

The Bruins opted for the “7 forwards, three defenseman, one goaltender” protection plan with unsigned UFAs like Taylor Hall, Tuukka Rask and David Krejci not in need of protection (unless the Kraken felt like they could sign any of them, which they don’t really have a shot), and young goalie Jeremy Swayman exempt from the expansion draft due to his service time.

Here are the Boston Bruins protected list with Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Charlie Coyle all being required to protect by virtue of their no-movement clauses:

Bergeron

Marchand

Coyle

Pastrnak

Smith

DeBrusk

Frederic

McAvoy

Carlo

Grzelcyk

Vladar

 That means this is the list of Boston Bruins players that the Kraken have to choose from:

Anton Blidh (F)

Paul Carey (F)

Peter Cehlarik (F)

Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson (F)

Taylor Hall (F)

Cameron Hughes (F)

Ondrej Kase (F)

Alex Khokhlachev (F)

Joona Koppanen (F)

David Krejci (F)

Karson Kuhlman (F)

Sean Kuraly (F)

Curtis Lazar (F)

Greg McKegg (F)

Nick Ritchie (F)

Zach Senyshyn (F)

Chris Wagner (F)

Linus Arnesson (D)

Connor Clifton (D)

Steven Kampfer (D)

Jeremy Lauzon (D)

Kevan Miller (D)

John Moore (D)

Mike Reilly (D)

Jarred Tinordi (D)

Jakub Zboril (D)

Callum Booth (G)

Jaroslav Halak (G)

Tuukka Rask (G)

In essence it came down to Jake DeBrusk, Nick Ritchie and Trent Frederic for two possible protection spots at the forward position. The Bruins opted to protect the 24-year-old DeBrusk because he’s still got considerable value around the league as a former 27-goal scorer that’s coming off an obviously bad season, and he still has trade value at this point in his career. The Bruins opted to protect Frederic given his potential growth as the kind of B’s identity player with a big, intimidating and physical presence with some offensive upside.

Those kinds of players aren’t exactly plentiful around the NHL these days and fit in well with the style of play that the Black and Gold want to continue to employ.

The 25-year-old Ritchie is coming off a strong season with the Bruins where he scored 15 goals and 26 points in 56 games and is an RFA with arbitration rights looking for a big raise over his current $1,498,925 million salary for last season. If the Kraken take Ritchie, then it’s a contract headache that the Bruins don’t have to worry about anymore, and they have a player in Frederic that could arguably be a younger, cheaper and homegrown version of the player.

In all likelihood, however, the Bruins are looking at losing either Clifton or Lauzon with their former P-Bruins head coach Jay Leach now an assistant coach with the Seattle Kraken, who will obviously have the best intel on all of Boston’s available players in the expansion draft. One interesting side note: This humble hockey writer has had several hockey sources tell me that the Kraken actually might take Jakub Zboril over the other players available, but that is hard to believe given the very nondescript pro hockey career that the former 2015 first round pick has had up until this point.

Kevan Miller’s retirement and the possibility of losing Clifton certainly strengthened Brandon Carlo’s leverage this offseason as big, physical right-shot defenseman, and perhaps all played a part in the six-year, $24.6 million extension that he signed earlier this week.

It won’t be the end of the world if the Boston Bruins lose either of those D-men, but the possible departure of Lauzon, who really distinguished himself this season as a big, strong penalty killer capable of playing close to 20 minutes a game, would really leave the Black and Gold thin on their defense’s left side, a spot they have already acknowledged needs their attention this offseason.

Joe Haggerty has covered the Boston Bruins and the NHL for 18 years with NBC Sports Boston, WEEI.com, the Boston Metro and the Woburn Daily Times, and currently serves as lead Bruins reporter and columnist for Boston Hockey Now. Haggs always strives to capture the spirt of the thing any way that he can.

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vireya

cannot believe they are exposing Hall

Fred

Exactly as expected.

miket

Makes sense. And losing any of those players won’t cripple (or even wound) Boston.

KingBruin77

I’d rather keep Lauzon and Clifton over Grzelcyk…they have way more upside! Grz is weak and other teams play to his side because of it. Having him on the top pairing or even top 4 is a joke….Bruins will never go far in playoffs with Grz in top 4 and any Homer fans who say different should learn more about the game before chiming in.

Last edited 2 months ago by KingBruin77

[…] There were no real surprises with the Boston Bruins’ protected list for the NHL Expansion Draft. The Bruins found a way to protect both forwards Trent Frederic and Jake DeBrusk. That doesn’t mean either won’t hit the NHL trade market though. (Boston Hockey Now) […]

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