Larry Brooks writes in the NY Post today that the Rangers will need to find a way to protect current leading goal scorer Michael Grabner in the coming expansion draft.
Grabner has 18 goals this season and has one-year left after this at $1.65 million.
The Rangers will likely protect 7 forwards, 3 defensemen and Henrik Lundqvist with those forwards likely being Derek Stepan, Rick Nash, Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad, Mats Zuccarello, JT Milller and Kevin Hayes.
Both Jimmy Vesey and Pavel Buchnevich are exempt from the draft and do not need to be protected.
Adam Rotter: Grabner has been the biggest surprise for the Rangers this season, especially from a goal scoring point of view. His speed has been a welcome addition and he has been a big part of where the Rangers are right now, but I wouldn't protect him over any of the 7 forwards above and unless one of those players is moved to get a young top-four defenseman. I wouldn't trade any of them just to keep Grabner.
Grabner has 18 goals this season but only had 17 in his prior 114 games. I like Grabner and wanted the Rangers to sign him to bring speed and penalty killing back to this team, but his scoring and shooting percentage are out of whack compared to his recent history. I think that I would run the risk of exposing him and hope that Vegas prefers someone like Kevin Klein instead.