Rangers Expansion Draft Protection List Released

In Blueshirt Bulletin Main Blog, News by Tom Urtz Jr

On Sunday morning the NHL released the protected and exposed list for each NHL team. The expansion draft is going to result in each team losing one player, and it is expected that teams will arrange side deals with the Vegas Golden Knights in order to steer them in a certain direction. At this time the Rangers do not have any such side deals arranged with the Golden Knights.

The Rangers did not make any trades before Saturday’s 3:00 p.m. deadline, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be a deal that could be announced when the trade freeze is lifted on Thursday morning.

With that said, here’s the list of players the Rangers protected, and who the left exposed.


  • Kevin Hayes (F)
  • Chris Kreider (F)
  • J.T. Miller (F)
  • Rick Nash (F)
  • Derek Stepan (F)
  • Mika Zibanejad (F)
  • Mats Zuccarello (F)
  • Nick Holden (D)
  • Ryan McDonagh (D)
  • Marc Staal (D)
  • Henrik Lundqvist (G)

This list is pretty straight forward with the exception of Nick Holden. The Rangers needed to protect a third defender after buying out Dan Girardi, and it is interesting that the team opted to protect Holden. It would have been advantageous to point Vegas in Holden’s direction to avoid losing someone like Oscar Lindberg, Michael Grabner or Antti Raanta.


  • Taylor Beck (F)
  • Chris Brown (F)
  • Daniel Catenacci (F)
  • Jesper Fast (F)
  • Tanner Glass (F)
  • Michael Grabner (F)
  • Marek Hrivik (F)
  • Nicklas Jensen (F)
  • Carl Klingberg (F)
  • Oscar Lindberg (F)
  • Brandon Pirri (F)
  • Matt Puempel (F)
  • Adam Clendening (D)
  • Tommy Hughes (D)
  • Steven Kampfer (D)
  • Kevin Klein (D)
  • Michael Paliotta (D)
  • Brendan Smith (D)
  • Chris Summers (D)
  • Magnus Hellberg (G)
  • Antti Raanta (G)
  • Mackenzie Skapski (G)

Of this list, the Rangers are likely to lose Grabner coming off a 27 goal season, Lindberg who is a promising top-nine center or Raanta who could very easily be the Golden Knights’ No. 1 goaltender for the future. It will be interesting to see if the Rangers work out a deal with Vegas between now and Wednesday.

For example, Matt Dumba of the Minnesota Wild was left unexposed, as was Sami Vatanen and Josh Manson of the Anaheim Ducks.

The Rangers would love to get any one of those three defenders so it is quite possible to arrange a deal in which the Blueshirts trade assets to Vegas for them to select a player and send them to New York. That would make losing one of the above players more palatable.

Vegas is going to be very involved with all 30 teams between now and Wednesday, and there is certainly going to be a ton of wheeling and dealing. It will be fascinating to watch and the process is going to get everyone ready for the NHL draft and the free agency period that follows.