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Expansion Draft

Expansion Draft Buzz: Flames, Flyers leaning toward 7-3-1 approach

Calgary, Philadelphia likely to protect seven forwards, three defensemen, one goalie from Golden Knights

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 each of the 30 other NHL teams finalizing its protected list.

NOTE: The expansion draft trade/waiver freeze for all NHL teams (excluding Golden Knights) begins Saturday at 3 p.m. ET. Then, each team must submit its protected list by 5 p.m. ET.

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

10:53 p.m.
Nick Cousins traded to Coyotes by Flyers

The Philadelphia Flyers traded forward Nick Cousins to the Arizona Coyotes on Friday for goalie Merrick Madsen, forward Brendan Warren and a fifth-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft.

"We are very pleased to acquire Nick," general manager John Chayka told the Coyotes' website. "He is a tenacious, versatile, two-way center who will add grit and energy to our lineup. We're excited to have him join the Coyotes."

Cousins, 23, can become a restricted free agent on July 1. The Coyotes plan to protect Cousins from the Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL Expansion Draft, the Arizona Republic reported.

Cousins had an NHL career-high 16 points (six goals, 10 assists) in 60 games this season. He was selected by the Flyers in the third round (No. 68) of the 2011 draft, and has 27 points (12 goals, 15 assists) in 107 games the past three seasons for Philadelphia. 


5:15 p.m.
Nikita Nesterov will become unrestricted free agent: report

Defenseman Nikita Nesterov will not receive a qualifying offer from the Montreal Canadiens, Sportsnet reported Friday. He will become an unrestricted free agent July 1.

He is not exempt from the NHL Expansion Draft. The Vegas Golden Knights are permitted to sign a current or pending free agent on a team's list of available players during the period between 10:01 a.m. ET on Sunday, June 18, and 9:59 a.m. ET on Wednesday, June 21, and in so doing will be deemed to have made its expansion draft selection from that player's team.

Nesterov, 24, has 33 points (nine goals, 24 assists) in 132 regular-season games and seven points (one goal, six assists) in 28 Stanley Cup Playoff games over three NHL seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Canadiens. He was traded from the Lightning to the Canadiens on Jan. 26.


4:30 p.m.
Sharks have flexibility for protected list

The San Jose Sharks have yet to decide whether they will protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender or eight skaters and one goaltender in the NHL Expansion Draft.

The Sharks do not have any players with no-movement clauses. The deadline for the 30 teams (excluding Vegas Golden Knights) to submit their protected lists is Saturday at 5 p.m. ET.

"We fleshed it all out," Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said Friday. "We can go either way. There's still some time between now and when we have to submit our list. Things can change between now and then.

"I think we're probably leaning toward one direction [over] the other, but between now and then some things could change, and I've been certainly talking to every other team and we'll be talking to Las Vegas closer to our submission time [Saturday]."

Veteran forwards Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau can become unrestricted free agents July 1. The opening of the UFA/RFA interview period (only applies to players who are available to be selected in expansion draft) for the Golden Knights is Sunday at 10 a.m. ET. The Sharks need to choose whether to expose or protect Thornton and Marleau.

Correspondent Eric Gilmore contributed to this report.


3:30 p.m.
Flames taking 7-3-1 approach

The Calgary Flames are expecting to protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender from the Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL Expansion Draft, general manager Brad Treliving said Friday.

Teams have that option or they can protect eight skaters (any combination of forwards and defensemen) and one goaltender.

"I would say, barring anything significant, we'll be a 7-3-1 team," Treliving said. "I don't necessarily anticipate doing anything other. What that is and how that all flows, we've got a pretty good idea. We feel we've had a pretty good idea for a while. We'll be ready for Saturday to submit."

Treliving admitted he doesn't have a clear idea as to which direction Vegas general manager George McPhee and assistant GM Kelly McCrimmon will look at Calgary's exposed players. 

"There's lots of activity," he said. "We've had one significant trade (Jonathan Drouin to Montreal Canadiens). I think there will be others prior to Saturday, and then I think you're going to see a hub of activity in that 72-hour period before the trade window closes with Vegas. I take it all part and parcel. There will be activity after that up to the entry draft and after the entry draft.

"It'll be a busy summer, like they all are. This adds a different layer and another layer. I think you'll see movement as a result."

Correspondent Aaron Vickers contributed to this report.


3:20 p.m.
Jujhar Khaira signs two-year contract with Oilers

Forward Jujhar Khaira signed a two-year contract with the Edmonton Oilers on Friday. Sportsnet reports it's worth $1.35 million, an average annual value of $675,000.

Khaira, 22, was a pending restricted free agent prior to re-signing and now must be protected if the Oilers don't want to risk losing him to the Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL Expansion Draft.

He has three points (one goal, two assists) in 25 games during his first two NHL seasons. Khaira did not play in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

After signing Khaira, Edmonton has seven non-exempt players who can become RFAs on July 1, according to forwards Leon Draisaitl, Zack Kassian, Zachary Pochiro and Henrik Samuelsson and defensemen Griffin Reinhart, David Musil and Dillon Simpson.

Video: ARI@EDM: Khaira deflects puck in for first NHL goal


1:15 p.m.
Ducks waive Simon Despres for purposes of buyout: report

Defenseman Simon Despres was placed on waivers by the Anaheim Ducks for purposes of a buyout, Sportsnet reported.

Despres, 25, was limited to one game this season after missing 42 games in 2015-16 because of a concussion. Without a buyout, he would have needed to be protected by the Ducks or exposed to the Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL Expansion Draft. He can become an unrestricted free agent July 1.

Despres has four years remaining on a five-year contract with an average annual value of $3.7 million.

The buyout of Despres' contract will be spread over eight seasons until 2024-25, according to He will count for $1.26 million against the salary cap next season.

The Ducks acquired Despres in a trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins on March 2, 2015, for defenseman ben Lovejoy. He had 10 points (one goal, nine assists) in 39 games with the Ducks.


1 p.m.
Flyers have plan for protected list

The Philadelphia Flyers' protected list for the NHL Expansion Draft will consist of seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender, according to general manager Ron Hextall.

"That's the way it works for us," Hextall said Friday. "That was easy."

The Flyers have two players with no-movement clauses, centers Claude Giroux and Valtteri Filppula, according to

They're also expected to protect forwards Jakub Voracek, Brayden Schenn, Wayne Simmonds and Sean Couturier, leaving one spot open for a group that includes Matt Read, Michael Raffl, Dale Weise, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Jordan Weal (can become unrestricted free agent July 1).

Which goaltender that gets protected seems to be the biggest question, with the choice between Michal Neuvirth or Anthony Stolarz. Neuvirth, 29, signed a two-year contract March 1 and has nine seasons of NHL experience. Stolarz, 23, made his NHL debut this season and currently is recovering from surgery for a lower-body injury sustained during the American Hockey League playoffs.

"It's more philosophical I guess," Hextall said. "You've got an older guy or a younger guy."

Hextall said he won't submit his list until just before the deadline of 5 p.m. ET on Saturday in case something unexpected crosses his desk.

"We're not going to hand it in until we have to hand it in because you don't know what's going to come your way," he said. "We're going to wait until close to the deadline and we'll go then. Something happens between now and then, I have no idea."

Hextall said filling out the protected list isn't something that's concerned him, however.

"It hasn't been that difficult to be honest," he said. "There's a lot of teams with harder decisions than we have to make."


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