I have already done my pieces on the Expansion Draft where I posted protection lists for all 30 teams before I drafted a team for the Vegas Golden Knights.
But now it’s time to take a closer look at what the Colorado Avalanche might do as there are plenty of possibilities. Each team must submit their respective protection lists by June 17 and the Golden Knights will reveal their selections on June 21.
And once again as a refresher, here are the rules the 30 teams must follow regarding their protection lists:
- A choice between protecting either 7 forwards, 3 d-men, 1 goalie OR 8 skaters, 1 goalie.
- All players who currently have effective and going forward “No Movement” clauses at the time of the Expansion Draft (and who decline to wave those clauses) must be protected. They WILL also count toward their club’s protection limits.
- A team must expose at least one d-man who is under contract for next season AND has played in either 40 games or more this past season or 70 games or more combined in the previous two seasons.
- A team must expose at least two forwards who are under contract for next season AND has played in either 40 games or more this past season or 70 games or more combined in the previous two seasons.
- A team must expose at least one goaltender who is either under contract for next season or is a RFA (restricted free agent) at the conclusion of the 2016-17 season.
So there are the rules the Avs must follow in order to be compliant with Expansion Draft rules.
Believe it or not, there are many different ways the Colorado Avalanche could go (although the 8 skaters route seems most likely) with their protection list. And it all hinges on what happens with one specific player who is currently under contract with the Avs – Francois Beauchemin.
Beauchemin, to put it mildly, is at the end of his career and hurts the team on the ice more than he helps. The 37 year old still has another year left on his contract that holds a cap hit of $4.5 million annually. That contract also has a No Movement clause which requires the Avalanche to protect him in the Expansion Draft if he refuses to waive the clause.
So that puts the Avs in a situation where they could potentially lose a player who would be more of contributor in their line-up if Beauchemin does not waive his NMC. The Avalanche also have the option of buying out the remaining year of Beauchemin‘s contract which would mean the Avs would not have to protect him.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at all potential scenarios for the Avalanche regarding the Expansion Draft and their protection list.
Francois Beauchemin isn’t bought out, refuses to waive his No Movement clause
Former long time Denver Post beat writer, currently with BSNDenver, Adrian Dater has reported that he has heard that the Colorado Avalanche will not be buying out Francois Beauchemin. Even though he said that things could change he also said that it isn’t likely at this point. (UPDATE: Adrian Dater has since stated that he is getting mixed signals on the situation and he doesn’t know what’s going to happen anymore).
Let’s assume Adrian Dater is correct and the Avs aren’t buying out Francois Beauchemin‘s contract. And let’s also assume that Beauchemin won’t waive his No Movement clause. If Beauchemin doesn’t waive his No Move then he would have to be protected and the Avs would only have one option:
Protect 8 skaters, 1 goaltender (instead of 7 forwards, 3 d-men, 1 goaltender).
What would the Avs protection list look like in this scenario?
- Nathan MacKinnon
- Gabriel Landeskog
- Matt Duchene
- Sven Andrighetto^
- Erik Johnson
- Tyson Barrie
- Nikita Zadorov
- Francois Beauchemin
- Semyon Varlamov
Regardless of how things play out in the days heading into the Expansion Draft, MacKinnon, Duchene, Landeskog, Johnson, Barrie, Zadorov and Varlamov will be protected by the Avalanche. They are safe.
Erik Johnson does have a No Move so he has to be protected and even if he didn’t have one he would be protected anyway.
There’s been lots of chatter and debate among Avalanche fans online about which goalie the Avs should protect: Varlamov or Calvin Pickard? There are great arguments on both sides but as Adrian Dater reported, the Avalanche will protect Semyon Varlamov thus exposing Calvin Pickard.
^ I have Sven Andrighetto protected on my list. The Swiss forward had 15 points in 19 games since coming over in a trade from Montreal in exchange for bruising forward Andreas Martinsen. Andrighetto had immediate chemistry with Nate MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen and was one of the Avs‘ best forwards down the stretch. However, it’s not a slam dunk that the Avs protect him. It’s unclear at this moment.
If Andrighetto is protected that would leave forwards Matt Nieto and Mikhail Grigorenko exposed. And in my opinion, these are the three pieces that the Avs have to choose between and they can only protect one of them. In my opinion, it should be Sven Andrighetto.
And because Francois Beauchemin is protected in this scenario that would leave d-man Mark Barberio exposed. Barberio was claimed off of waivers from Montreal and was nothing short of impressive for the Avs.
In this scenario, where Beauchemin isn’t bought out and doesn’t waive his No Move, the Avs could protect Barberio but then they couldn’t protect Andrighetto. And in the case they do decide to protect Barberio over Andrighetto, the Avalanche would have to re-sign one of Patrick Wiercioch, Fedor Tyutin, or Cody Goloubef, The reason? Barberio is the only d-man that fulfills the Expansion Draft exposure requirement. Each team needs to expose at least one d-man who is under contract for next season and has played in either 40 games this past season or 70 games combined in the prior two seasons. So keep that in mind.
But in this scenario, I’ll stick to the protected list that I mentioned above. The Avs can protect those players and satisfy exposure requirements as can be seen below.
- Forward Exposure Requirement: 3/2. Joe Colborne, Blake Comeau, Carl Soderberg.
- D-men Exposure Requirement: 1/1. Mark Barberio.
- Goalie Exposure Requirement: 1/1. Calvin Pickard.
Francois Beauchemin isn’t bought, agrees to waive his No Movement clause
Well, if this is the case, the Avalanche would have the option to protect 7 forwards, 3 defensemen and 1 goalie (oppose to being forced into protecting 8 skaters in the first scenario) if they so choose to.
If they choose to go the 7 forwards, 3 defensemen, 1 goalie route (although I just don’t see them going this route), their protection list would look something like this:
- Nathan MacKinnon
- Gabriel Landeskog
- Matt Duchene
- Sven Andrighetto
- Matt Nieto
- Mikhail Grigorenko
- Blake Comeau
- Erik Johnson
- Tyson Barrie
- Nikita Zadorov
- Semyon Varlamov
The reason why the Avs probably won’t go this route is that the Avs don’t really have 7 forwards worth protecting. Nothing against Grigorenko or Comeau but I’m not sure if they’re in danger of getting chosen by the Golden Knights although I wouldn’t be shocked if they were either.
If the Avs don’t want to protect Grigorenko or Comeau, they could protect Rocco Grimaldi. Grimaldi, only played 4 games this season with the Avs but the 24 year old speedy winger led the San Antonio Rampage with 31 goals and 55 points. The Golden Knights also have to build a minor league team as well so taking a guy like Grimaldi would make a ton of sense.
In still keeping with the scenario of Beauchemin waiving his No Move, the Avs also have the option of protecting 8 skaters/1 goalie as well. And the Avs could go a couple of ways here.
Option 1: Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog, Matt Duchene, Sven Andrighetto, Matt Nieto, Erik Johnson, Tyson Barrie, Nikita Zadorov, Semyon Varlamov.
Option 2: Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog, Matt Duchene, Sven Andrighetto, Erik Johnson, Tyson Barrie, Nikita Zadorov, Mark Barberio, Semyon Varlamov.
Option 1 doesn’t need a whole lot of explanation. Option 1 has 5 forwards, 3 d-men protected. With this option, the Avs protect their five forwards that are worth protecting and who would be chosen if they were left unprotected. On the defensive side, the Avs protect their 3 major pieces that they can’t stand to lose. They would leave Mark Barberio exposed but the Avs would just have to hope someone else entices the Golden Knights instead. This option fulfills Expansion Draft requirements as well.
Option 2 is exactly like option 1 except it swaps Matt Nieto for Mark Barberio. With Beauchemin waiving his No Move, he would be left unprotected and would fulfill the exposure requirement of a d-man being under contract for next season and having played 40 games last season or 70 games combined in the prior two seasons. The Avs wouldn’t have to re-sign any other defensemen and would be free to protect Barberio if they choose to. This option would also fulfill Expansion Draft requirements.
So the Avs have plenty of options in this scenario…
And just a side note, this scenario is pretty likely. Although this is me speculating, it would seem the Avs and Beauchemin have come to an agreement where the Avs wouldn’t buy him out in exchange for him waiving his NMC. It’s something that would benefit both sides. On the Avs side, the Avs don’t have to protect him while protecting a better asset. For Beauchemin, it’s basically certain that he won’t get chosen in the Expansion Draft so he won’t have to uproot his family and he’s guaranteed to play one more year in the NHL. If the Avs buy out Beauchemin, it’s unlikely he’ll get another job in the NHL thus ending his career. He would also get his contractual $4.5 million. He would lose a third of that in a buy out.
Francois Beauchemin is bought out
And the final scenario sees Francois Beauchemin getting bought out of his final year of his contract. According to Adrian Dater, it doesn’t sound like it’s going to happen. But in any case, let’s explore this scenario.
In this scenario, the Avs could go the 7 forwards, 3 defensemen, 1 goaltender route or the 8 skaters, 1 goaltender route.
The 7-3-1 route they could/would go can be seen above in scenario 2 (no need to write that out again).
The 8-1 route and possible ways the Avs could go with this route is also laid out in scenario 2.
But I will repeat this since it’s very important. If Francois Beauchemin gets bought out and if the Avs want to protect Mark Barberio then the Avs will have to re-sign one Cody Goloubef, Patrick Wiercioch or Fedor Tyutin. Barberio is the d-man that fulfills the Expansion Draft d-man exposure requirement for the Avs. If the Avs want to protect Barberio, especially in this scenario where Beauchemin is bought out, then the Avs would have no d-men that fulfills the d-man exposure requirement. Re-signing one of Goloubef, Tyutin or Wiercioch would fulfill the exposure requirement.
My Own Personal Protection List For The Avs
This is who I would protect if I were in the Avalanche‘s shoes.
First and foremost, I would either buy out Francois Beauchemin or get him to waive his No Movement clause. In any case, if I were the man in charge, there’s no chance you would see Beauchemin on my protection list.
If I were going the 7-3-1 route my protection list would be: Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog, Matt Duchene, Sven Andrighetto, Matt Nieto, Mikhail Grigorenko, Blake Comeau, Erik Johnson, Tyson Barrie, Nikita Zadorov, Calvin Pickard.
If I were going the 8-1 route my protection list would be: Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog, Matt Duchene, Sven Andrighetto, Erik Johnson, Tyson Barrie, Nikita Zadorov, Mark Barberio, Calvin Pickard.
My explanation for protecting Pickard over Semyon Varlamov? Personally, there’s basically zero chance of Vegas taking Varlamov in the Expansion Draft. There is somewhat of a chance that Pickard is selected by the Golden Knights. Pickard is 4-5 years younger than Varlamov and has a cheap contract of a $1 million cap hit. There’s more of a danger of losing Pickard than Varlamov so that’s my line of thinking on this.
But it’s only a matter of time before we get clarity on all of this as the protection lists are due on June 17 and on June 21 we’ll find out who the Avs lose to Vegas. And then the 2017 Entry Level Draft goes down on June 23-24 where the Avs select 4th overall.
And is Matt Duchene finally dealt?
Going to be a fun, interesting, nerve-wracking couple of weeks in Avalanche land.