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Expansion Draft Buzz: Dan Girardi to be bought out by Rangers

New York opens spot on protected list for Golden Knights, clears salary cap space

by Pete Jensen @NHLJensen / Staff Writer

Welcome to the NHL Expansion Draft Buzz. On June 21, the Vegas Golden Knights will reveal the players they have taken from the other 30 NHL teams in the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft presented by T-Mobile. But before that happens, a flurry of activity is expected to take place with the 30 other NHL teams each finalizing its protected list.

Here's a look around the League at the latest doings as the expansion draft approaches:

8:14 p.m.
Capitals acquire Tyler Graovac from Wild

In a trade made with the NHL Expansion Draft in mind, the Washington Capitals acquired center Tyler Graovac from the Minnesota Wild for a fifth-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft.

Graovac, 24, played 52 games with the Wild last season and is under contract through the end of the 2017-18 season, making him eligible to be exposed for the expansion draft.

Each team must expose two forwards who are under contract for 2017-18 and played at least 40 NHL games last season or 70 NHL games over the past two seasons. Without Graovac, the Capitals would have had to expose Lars Eller and Jay Beagle to fulfill the forward requirement (Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Marcus Johansson and Tom Wilson are their other forwards under contract for next season who meet the games-played requirement but are expected to be protected).

The Capitals can now expose Graovac and protect Eller, who was acquired from the Montreal Canadiens on June 24, 2016 in a trade for a second-round draft pick in 2017 and in 2018.


1:50 p.m.
Dan Girardi to be bought out by Rangers

Defenseman Dan Girardi will have the remainder of his contract bought out by the New York Rangers, general manager Jeff Gorton announced Wednesday.

Girardi, 33, had three years left on a six-year, $33 million contract with an average annual value of $5.5 million, according to He'll become an unrestricted free agent July 1.

He also had a no-movement clause, meaning the Rangers would have had to protect him in 2017 NHL Expansion Draft.

The Vegas Golden Knights, who begin play next season, will be able to negotiate a contract with Girardi starting Saturday. The Golden Knights are permitted to speak to any impending restricted or unrestricted free agent not on a protected list. Teams must submit their protected lists by 5 p.m. ET on June 17.

Girardi will count against the Rangers salary cap for six more seasons, but at two-thirds the total remaining value of his contract. He'll count for $2.61 million next season, $3.61 million in 2018-19 and 2019-20, and $1.11 million in 2020-21, 2021-22 and 2022-23.

Video: Chris Johnston on Dan Girardi, Derek Stepan


11:50 a.m.
Matt Puempel agrees to terms with Rangers

Forward Matt Puempel agreed to terms on a new contract with the New York Rangers on Wednesday.

Puempel, 24, could have become a restricted free agent July 1, but remains eligible to be exposed to the Golden Knights in the expansion draft. He is one of a few depth forwards, including but not limited to Michael Grabner, Jesper Fast and Oscar Lindberg, who are candidates to be taken by Vegas with their one pick from the Rangers roster.

Puempel played in 40 regular-season games this season but did not play in any of the Rangers' Stanley Cup Playoff games.

New York has four players with no-movement clauses in their contracts: forward Rick Nash, defensemen Marc Staal and Dan Girardi, and goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. They will be forced to protect these players in the expansion draft unless they choose to buy out one (or more) of their contracts.

11:45 a.m.
Matt Greene could be bought out by Kings: report

Defenseman Matt Greene was activated off injured reserve by the Los Angeles Kings for purposes of a buyout, according to LA Kings Insider.

Greene, 34, has one year remaining on a four-year contract. He won the Stanley Cup with the Kings in 2012 and 2014.

He was limited to 26 games this season because of back and groin injuries, but has reportedly recovered from back surgery and is healthy. The NHL's buyout period begins Thursday.

Greene, who does not have a no-movement clause in his contract, is eligible to be exposed to the Golden Knights.


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