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How Does the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft Work?

Canes can protect 7 forwards, 3 defensemen and a goalie or 8 skaters and a goalie

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes /

The Seattle Kraken, the National Hockey League's 32nd member club, will assemble its roster in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft on July 21 (8 p.m., ESPN2).

The Kraken will select one player from each team (excluding the Vegas Golden Knights) for a total of 30 players. At minimum, Seattle must draft:

  • 14 forwards
  • 9 defensemen
  • 3 goalies

Seattle can fill the four remaining roster spots with players from any position, and of the 30 players drafted, at least 20 must be under contract for the 2021-22 season.

The 30 NHL clubs participating in the Expansion Draft can protect either:

  • 7 forwards, 3 defensemen and 1 goalie or
  • 8 skaters (forwards/defensemen) and 1 goalie

All first- and second-year professionals, unsigned draft picks and players who have suffered career-ending injuries are exempt from selection and will not count toward their team's applicable protection limits. Players with no movement clauses must be protected unless they agree to waive those clauses.

All teams must expose at least:

  • 2 forwards
    • Under contract for 2021-22
    • Played in at least 27 NHL games in 2020-21 or played in at least 54 NHL games in the last two seasons combined
  • 1 defenseman
    • Under contract for 2021-22
    • Played in at least 27 NHL games in 2020-21 or played in at least 54 NHL games in the last two seasons combined
  • 1 goalie
    • Under contract for 2021-22 or is a restricted free agent who has already received his qualifying offer

Each team's protection list is due to the NHL on July 17, and the league will then disseminate those lists on July 18.


The following is a list of the Carolina Hurricanes' Expansion Draft eligible players. From this list, the Canes have the option to protect either 11 (seven forwards, three defensemen and a goalie) or nine players (eight skaters and a goalie). Additionally, the Canes have to leave exposed at least two forwards, one defenseman and one goaltender who meet the above contractual and games-played requirements; those players are marked with an asterisk and are subject to change.


  • Sebastian Aho*
  • Jesper Fast*
  • Warren Foegele (RFA)
  • Morgan Geekie*
  • Steven Lorentz*
  • Jordan Martinook (UFA)
  • Max McCormick (UFA)
  • Brock McGinn (UFA)
  • Nino Niederreiter*
  • Cedric Paquette (UFA)
  • Sheldon Rempal (UFA)
  • Drew Shore (UFA)
  • Spencer Smallman (RFA)
  • Jordan Staal* (no-move clause, must be protected)
  • Andrei Svechnikov (RFA)
  • Teuvo Teravainen*
  • Vincent Trocheck*


  • Jake Bean (RFA)
  • Jake Gardiner*
  • Eric Gelinas
  • Jani Hakanpaa (UFA)
  • Dougie Hamilton (UFA)
  • Maxime Lajoie (RFA)
  • Roland McKeown (UFA)
  • Brett Pesce*
  • Joakim Ryan (UFA)
  • Brady Skjei*
  • Jaccob Slavin*
  • David Warsofsky (UFA)


  • Antoine Bibeau (UFA)
  • Jeremy Helvig (RFA)**
  • Petr Mrazek (UFA)
  • Alex Nedeljkovic (RFA)**
  • James Reimer (UFA)
  • Dylan Wells (RFA)**

**Would meet exposure requirements if tendered qualifying offer prior to Expansion Draft

The collection of Canes' players exempt from the Expansion Draft is highlighted by Martin Necas, who played his second full NHL season in 2020-21, in addition to top prospects Seth Jarvis, Ryan Suzuki and more, plus all of the team's unsigned draft picks.

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