At the expansion draft this summer the Rangers will likely protect seven forwards, three defensemen and Henrik Lundqvist.
The Rangers must expose at least one defenseman who is under contract in 2017-18 and who has played at least 40 games this season or 70 in the past two.
Current Rangers defensemen Marc Staal and Dan Girardi are protected via their no-move clauses, Brady Skjei is exempt and the Rangers would need to expose one of Ryan McDonagh, Nick Holden or Kevin Klein to satisfy the requirement.
Larry Brooks writes that the Rangers will likely ask Girardi to waive his no-move or buy him out in an effort to expose Girardi and protect Holden. (NY Post)
Pierre LeBrun writes that the Rangers decisions relating to the expansion draft this summer are likely related to Klein and if they can/want to ask Girardi to waive his no-move clause. (ESPN)
The Rangers must expose at least two forwards who are under contract in 2017-18 that have played in 40 or more games this season or 70 over the past two.
With the expectation that the Rangers would protect Rick Nash (no-move clause), Derek Stepan, Chris Kreider, JT Miller, Mats Zuccarello, Mika Zibanejad and Kevin Hayes, the only forward signed for next season who meets the requirements is Michael Grabner.
- Brooks wrote earlier in the week that the Rangers have to seriously consider protecting Grabner.
- The expansion draft and possibly protecting Grabner was a topic on the Rangers Blue Line Podcast this week.
The Rangers would need to sign one of their pending RFA forwards, Oscar Lindberg, Jesper Fast or Brandon Pirri prior to the expansion draft to fill the remaining spot or they could acquire a forward who meets the requirements.
Antti Raanta will be exposed since the Rangers have to protect Lundqvist.
Las Vegas will have the opportunity to sign any pending UFAs or RFAs in a 48 hour period prior to the expansion draft. If Vegas signs one of those players, then that team won't lose a player in the draft. (ESPN.com)
Each team will lose one player during the expansion draft.
Adam Rotter: The forward issue for the Rangers is going to be very interesting. Not because of Grabner, who despite his goal scoring this year will probably be left unprotected, but who the Rangers will get to fill that second slot. I think it makes the most sense to try and extend Lindberg for a year, since he fits the requirements, will be relatively cheap and is someone the Rangers would probably be okay keeping if he wasn't picked. Acquiring a player just to fill that spot would work, but he better be someone you want to move forward with because there is no guarantee he would be taken. You could also look to extend Fast with the feeling that, no matter what happens, you will have at least Grabner or Fast next season even if one is picked. I don't think the Rangers would look to extend Pirri and make him available unless they had something worked out with Vegas that he would be picked.
On defense I think that the Rangers will get Girardi to waive his no-move clause, he almost certainly won't be picked by Vegas, in a move that will allow them to keep Holden. Holden is a solid player who the Rangers stole for a fourth-round pick. He's steady, skates well, plays both sides and can add some offense. I would think that the Rangers will find a way to keep him protected and probably/possibly hope that Klein gets picked by Vegas.
There are expected to be a bunch of goalies available but the Rangers still may want to send over a late-round draft pick to ensure they can keep Raanta.