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Avs To Protect 11 Players From Expansion Draft

The list features seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie

by Ryan Boulding @rboulding /

The Colorado Avalanche has opted to protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender ahead of the the NHL Expansion Draft on Wednesday in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Forwards Sven Andrighetto, Blake Comeau, Matt Duchene, Rocco Grimaldi, Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Nieto, defensemen Tyson Barrie, Erik Johnson and Nikita Zadorov and netminder Semyon Varlamov will be exempt from the the pool of eligible players available to the expansion Vegas Golden Knights.

Terms of the NHL Expansion Draft state that every team is required to expose at least two forwards and one rear guard that are under contract for the 2017-18 season and have played a minimum of either 40 NHL games during the 2016-17 campaign or 70 NHL contests during the previous two seasons.

Additionally, players that have been under professional contract for the past three years are also eligible to be picked by the Golden Knights.

As such, organizational forwards J.C. Beaudin, J.T. Compher, A.J. Greer, Tyson Jost, Julien Nantel, Reid Petryk, Mikko Rantanen and Trent Vogelhuber, defensemen Chris Bigras, Sergei Boikov, Mason Geertsen, Anton Lindholm and Andrei Mironov and keeper Spencer Martin are all excluded from the selection pool.

A maximum of one player per team may be chosen by Vegas.

Andrighetto joined the Avs via a March 1 trade-deadline deal with the Montreal Canadiens that saw forward Andreas Martinsen head the other way. After joining the team in Denver, the 24-year-old native of Zurich, Switzerland, went on to record 16 points (five goals, 11 assists) in 19 games with his new club. His five goals and 11 points in the month of March paced all Avalanche players during that time, and he skated in his 100th contest on April 6 versus the Minnesota Wild.

Barrie wrapped up his sixth year with Colorado with 38 points (seven goals, 31 assists) in 74 games. He now has 191 points (47 goals, 144 assists) in 338 games. The Victoria, British Columbia, native also skated in his 300th NHL contest on Dec. 31 versus the New York Rangers.

Comeau concluded his 11th year in the NHL and his second with the Avs with 20 points (eight goals, 12 assists) in 77 matches. The 31-year-old native of Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan, now has 251 points (108 goals, 143 assists) in 641 NHL games. He skated in his 600th contest on Jan. 12 versus the Anaheim Ducks.

Duchene is coming off his eighth season with Colorado. The 26-year-old center finished the campaign with 41 points (18 goals, 23 assists), upping his career totals to 418 points (174 goals, 244 assists) in 572 games played and moving himself into the No. 10 spot in franchise scoring. Duchene skated in his 500th contest on Oct. 22 at the Florida Panthers and recorded his 400th career point on Dec. 29 at the Dallas Stars.

Grimaldi played four contests with Colorado last year and finished with one assist, bringing his career NHL total to seven points (four goals, three assists) in 31 contests. The 24-year-old from Anaheim, California, was recalled from the San Antonio Rampage on two different occasions, first on Dec. 2 and again on April 3.

Johnson was limited to just 46 contests played in 2016-17 after breaking his leg while blocking a shot from Tyler Seguin on Dec. 3 versus the Dallas Stars. The Bloomington, Minnesota, native returned to the lineup on Feb. 25 against the Buffalo Sabres and finished the campaign with 17 points (two goals, 15 assists). Johnson now has 237 career points (61 goals, 176 assists) in 575 games played.

Landeskog finished his sixth campaign in the NHL with 33 points (18 goals, 15 assists) in 72 games. He now has 279 points (118 goals, 161 assists) in 428 games, and has been captain of the club since 2012. The Stockholm, Sweden, native skated in his 400th contest on Feb. 14 at the New Jersey Devils.

MacKinnon had the second-best points production of his four-year career during the 2016-17 season, recording 53 points (16 goals, 37 assists) while skating in all 82 games for the second time since he was drafted in 2013. The native of Halifax, Nova Scotia, recorded his 200th point on March 23 versus the Edmonton Oilers, his 100th assist on Nov. 11 versus the Winnipeg Jets and skated in his 300th contest on April 9 at the St. Louis Blues.

Nieto joined the Avalanche after being claimed off waivers from the San Jose Sharks on Jan. 5. The 24-year-old Long Beach, California, native went on to post 11 points (seven goals, four assists) in 43 games after his acquisition. He now has 81 points (35 goals, 46 assists) in 264 games.

Varlamov was limited to just 24 matches during his sixth season with the Avs before he was shut down for double-hip surgery to alleviate recurring groin injuries on Jan. 26. Varlamov boasts a 2.65 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage in 348 career games played, which includes 289 contests with Colorado.

Zadorov concluded his second year with the Avalanche with 10 points (all assists) in 56 matches before suffering a fractured ankle following a collision in practice on Feb. 20. The 22-year-old native of Moscow, Russia, skated in his 100th NHL game on Nov. 6 at the St. Louis Blues and has 28 points (four goals, 24 assists) in 145 contests. He led all Colorado players with 153 hits last year.

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