Less than 48 hours ahead of an impending NHL trade embargo, the Caps have consummated a minor swap with the Minnesota Wild. Washington acquires center Tyler Graovac from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for a fifth-round choice in the 2018 NHL Draft.
Because he played 52 games for Minnesota last season and is under contract at a salary cap hit of $625,000 for the 2017-18 season, Graovac meets the qualifications for exposure for the 2017 Expansion Draft.
Wednesday's trade gives the Caps another depth piece for the organization, but also puts Washington in a better position in terms of the upcoming Expansion Draft. Without the addition of Graovac, the Caps would have had to expose two of the following forwards: Jay Beagle, Lars Eller and Tom Wilson. Now, they can expose Graovac and one of the aforementioned incumbents from last season's roster. Here are the requirements the 30 established NHL clubs must adhere to regarding the expansion draft:
Player Exposure Requirements
* All Clubs must meet the following minimum requirements regarding players exposed for selection in the Expansion Draft:
i) One defenseman who is a) under contract in 2017-18 and b) played in 40 or more NHL games the prior season OR played in 70 or more NHL games in the prior two seasons.
ii) Two forwards who are a) under contract in 2017-18 and b) played in 40 or more NHL games the prior season OR played in 70 or more NHL games in the prior two seasons.
iii) One goaltender who is under contract in 2017-18 or will be a restricted free agent at the expiration of his current contract immediately prior to 2017-18. If the club elects to make a restricted free agent goaltender available in order to meet this requirement, that goaltender must have received his qualifying offer prior to the submission of the club's protected list.
Minnesota's sixth-round pick (191st overall) in the 2011 NHL Draft, the 6-foot-5, 212-pound Graovac played junior hockey for Ottawa of the OHL before turning pro in 2013-14. He totaled 21 goals and 46 points in 73 games for Iowa of the AHL in 2014-15, the best of his two full seasons at that level.
A 24-year-old native of Brampton, Ontario, Graovac is a right-handed shooting center who registered seven goals and nine points while averaging 9:50 per night in ice time with Minnesota last season. He also skated in 26 games with Iowa, where he put up 10 goals and 15 points.
Virtually all of Graovac's ice time for the Wild came at even strength in 2016-17, his rookie season in the league. He appeared in five NHL games for the Wild over the prior two campaigns.