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Sabres' Expansion Draft Protection List unveiled

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak /

The following players, who did not meet rules for exemption, have been protected by the Buffalo Sabres in Wednesday's NHL Expansion Draft, the NHL announced Sunday:

Forwards: Tyler Ennis, Marcus Foligno, Zemgus Girgensons, Evander Kane, Johan Larsson, Ryan O'Reilly, Kyle Okposo

Defensemen: Nathan Beaulieu, Jake McCabe, Rasmus Ristolainen

Goaltender: Robin Lehner

Clubs had two options for players they wished to protect in the Expansion Draft:

a) Seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender

b) Eight skaters (forwards/defensemen) and one goaltender

All players who have currently effective and continuing "No Movement" clauses at the time of the Expansion Draft (and who to decline to waive such clauses) must be protected (and have been counted toward their club's applicable protection limits).

All first- and second-year professionals, as well as all unsigned draft choices, will be exempt from selection (and have not be counted toward their club's applicable protection limits).

The following players met these rules for exemption: 

Forwards: Rasmus Asplund, Justin Bailey, Nicholas Baptiste, Christopher Brown, Eric Cornel, Jean Dupuy, Jack Eichel, Hudson Fasching, Vasily Glotov, Brandon Hagel, Connor Hurley, Vaclav Karabacek, Sean Malone, Brett Murray, Alexander Nylander, Victor Olofsson, Judd Peterson, Cliff Pu, Sam Reinhart, Evan Rodrigues, C.J. Smith, Maxwell Willman

Defensemen: Victor Antipin, William Borgen, Vojtech Budik, Erik Burgdoerfer, Ivan Chukarov, Casey Fitzgerald, Brendan Guhle, Brycen Martin, Casey Nelson, Philip Nyberg, Austin Osmanski, Devante Stephens

Goaltenders: Jonas Johansson, Jason Kasdorf, Cal Petersen

The Vegas Golden Knights, the NHL's newest franchise who will begin play next season as the 15th team in the Western Conference and eighth in the Pacific Division, 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).

Each of the 30 presently existing NHL Clubs submitted a Protection List on Saturday and now the Golden Knights are on the clock to submit their selections by 10 a.m. ET on Wednesday.

The players selected by the Vegas Golden Knights will be revealed during the 2017 NHL Awards and NHL Expansion Draft presented by T-Mobile in Las Vegas on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN).

The following rules also apply:

* Vegas must select the following number of players at each position: 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goaltenders.

* Vegas must select a minimum of 20 players who are under contract for the 2017-18 season.

* Vegas 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.

* Vegas may not buy out any of the players selected in the Expansion Draft earlier than the summer following its first season.

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