BOSTON - The National Hockey League is set to embark on an adventure unseen in nearly 20 years. With the addition of the Vegas Golden Knights as the league's 31st franchise, an expansion draft will be held for the first time since 2000 on Wednesday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, in conjunction with the 2017 NHL Awards (8 ET, NBCSN).
Each team will lose one player to the Golden Knights, as Vegas general manager George McPhee crafts his club.
Teams submitted their protected lists on Sunday, and the Bruins opted to shield seven forwards, three defensemen, and one goaltender (teams could also protect eight skaters and one goaltender).
Those players are forwards David Backes, Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Brad Marchand, Riley Nash, David Pastrnak, and Ryan Spooner; defensemen Zdeno Chara, Torey Krug, and Kevan Miller; and goalie Tuukka Rask.
Among those left unprotected were Matt Beleskey, Jimmy Hayes, Adam McQuaid, Colin Miller, Joe Morrow, and Malcolm Subban. The full list is here.
"There certainly has been a lot of chatter, but I don't know if anyone can predict that," Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said earlier this month at the NHL Combine. "George is in a very unique position. He can sit back and really go in whatever direction he chooses."
Here is a look at everything else you need to know ahead of the 2017 Expansion Draft, courtesy of the NHL:
- All players who have currently effective and continuing "No Movement" clauses at the time of the Expansion Draft (and who declined to waive such clauses) had to be protected (and were counted toward their club's applicable protection limits). For the Bruins, those players were Backes, Bergeron, Chara, Krejci, and Marchand.
- All first- and second-year professionals, as well as all unsigned draft choices, are exempt from selection (and were counted toward their club's applicable protection limits). Noel Acciari, Brandon Carlo, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Charlie McAvoy, and Frank Vatrano were among the Bruins who fit into this category.
Video: Checking in with Vegas head coach Gerard Gallant
Regulations Relating to Expansion Franchise
- The Las Vegas franchise must select one player from each presently existing club for a total of 30 players (not including additional players who may be acquired as the result of violations of the Expansion Draft rules).
- The Las Vegas franchise must select the following number of players at each position: 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goaltenders.
- The Las Vegas franchise must select a minimum of 20 players who are under contract for the 2017-18 season.
- The Las Vegas franchise must select players with an aggregate Expansion Draft value that is between 60-100% of the prior season's upper limit for the salary cap.
- The Las Vegas franchise may not buy out any of the players selected in the Expansion Draft earlier than the summer following its first season.
- The Las Vegas team must submit their Expansion Draft Selections by 5:00 P.M. ET on Tuesday, June 20 and the announcement of their selections will be released on made on Wednesday, June 21.
- The Las Vegas franchise will begin play in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference in 2017-18. There will be no other changes to the NHL's alignment.
- Each club will continue to play an 82-game schedule, with 41 home games and 41 road games.
- The schedule matrix, which ensures that all teams play in all arenas at least once each season, will be adjusted to the following in 2017-18:
Eastern Conference (Atlantic and Metropolitan Divisions - 8 Teams)
-- Within Conference (Division): 28 games * 7 Teams: 2 Home / 2 Away * 7 x 4 = 28 games
-- Within Conference (Non-Division): 24 games * 4 Teams: 2 Home / 1 Away * 4 Teams: 1 Home / 2 Away * 4 x 3 = 12 games * 4 x 3 = 12 games
-- Non-Conference: 30 games * 15 Home / 15 Away
- The Bruins will play Vegas once at T-Mobile Arena and once at TD Garden next season.
Wait, There's More
♣ A trade freeze went into effect on Saturday afternoon and is in place until Thursday at 8 a.m. ET, though teams were free to trade with Vegas ahead of the Expansion Draft. McPhee said he was willing to initiate trades with teams to stray from selecting certain players Wednesday night.
♣ The last NHL Expansion Draft was held in 2000, when the Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild were introduced as the league's newest franchises.
♣ The NHL announced on Sunday that the salary cap has been set at $75 million for the 2017-18 season, a $2 million increase from last season. The cap floor was set at $55.4 million.
Video: Caryn Switaj previews the week ahead