The New York Rangers didn’t have as nearly a difficult task in submitting their lists of protected and available players ahead of Wednesday’s Expansion Draft, which will see the brand-new Seattle Kraken choose one member from their ranks.
On Sunday morning, the NHL released each of the 30 teams’ protected and available players lists, with the Rangers opting to protect seven forwards, three defensemen, and one goalie from the Kraken.
Rangers protected list
- Pavel Buchnevich (F)
- Filip Chytil (F)
- Chris Kreider (F)
- Artemi Panarin (F)
- Kevin Rooney (F)
- Ryan Strome (F)
- Mika Zibanejad (F)
- Libor Hájek (D)
- Ryan Lindgren (D)
- Jacob Trouba (D)
- Alexandar Georgiev (G)
The only major question that was coming out of Rangers camp ahead of the list’s submittal was which forward would be the seventh one protected.
Rooney was more of a surprising choice, considering he only posted 14 points in 54 games last season while the likes of Julian Gauthier, Colin Blackwell, and the newly-acquired Barclay Goodrow were left exposed.
Gauthier and Blackwell appear to be the two most likely candidates that will be picked up by the Kraken while Goodrow and the Rangers are expected to come to terms on a new deal sometime over the next two weeks after the restricted free agent was acquired from the defending Stanley Cup-champion Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday, per USA Today’s Vince Mercogliano.
The Rangers had a far smaller pool of players to decide from, though, considering its deep ranks of young players. Those in their first two years of professional service time are exempt from the Expansion Draft, which means the Rangers did not have to worry about a number of franchise cornerstones including last year’s No. 1 pick, Alexis Lafreniere, Vitali Kravtsov, Norris Trophy winner Adam Fox, K’Andre Miller, and franchise goalie of the future, Igor Shesterkin.