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13 NHL Teams Don’t Meet Goalie Expansion Requirements Right Now

Expansion preparations are something just about every team will have to do in some form or fashion. Whether it’s making a move at the deadline, signing a free agent, or shuffling players up from the AHL to hit the experience requirements, each of the current 30 teams have some work to do.

We’ve long known goaltenders were going to be a hot button issue. Teams are only allowed to protect one, and seven clubs have a goalie with a No Movement Clause forcing them to either protect that player or ask him to waive it. But it’s the second part of the goalie rule that a surprising number of teams will have to make moves to fulfill.

(Teams must expose) One goaltender who is under contract in 2017-18 or will be a restricted free agent at the expiration of his current contract immediately prior to 2017-18. If the club elects to make a restricted free agent goaltender available in order to meet this requirement, that goaltender must have received his qualifying offer prior to the submission of the club’s protected list. -NHL Official Expansion Rules

Right now, 13 teams cannot currently meet the requirement, and therefore must sign, re-sign, extend a qualifying offer, or trade for a goalie to avoid a penalty (likely forfeiting draft picks).

Montreal recently re-signed Al Montoya, giving them an extra goaltender under contract to expose, and Anaheim re-upped Dustin Tokarski to do the same.

Here’s a look at all 30 teams’ goalie situation as it pertains to the draft. Teams in red must make a move by June to ensure they meet the NHL’s requirement. (There are examples of what these teams must do after the list.)

Anaheim Ducks – Gibson (RFA 2019), Tokarski (UFA 2018)
Arizona Coyotes – Smith (UFA 2019), Domingue (RFA 2018)
Boston Bruins – Rask (UFA 2021), Khudobin (UFA 2018)
Buffalo Sabres – Lehner (RFA 2017), Ullmark (RFA 2017), Nisson (UFA 2017)
Calgary Flames – McCollum (UFA 2018), Elliott (UFA 2017), Johnson (UFA 2017)
Carolina Hurricanes – Ward (UFA 2018), Lack (UFA 2018)
Chicago Blackhawks – Crawford *NMC* (UFA 2020), Carruth (RFA 2017) Darling (UFA 2017)
Colorado Avalanche – Varlamov (UFA 2019), Pickard (RFA 2018)
Columbus Blue Jackets – Bobrovsky *NMC* (UFA 2019), Dansk (RFA 2017), Koriasalo (RFA 2017), Forsberg (RFA 2017), McElhinney (UFA 2017)
Dallas Stars – Lehtonen (UFA 2018), Niemi (UFA 2018)
Detroit Red Wings – Howard (UFA 2019), Mrazek (RFA 2018), Coreau (RFA 2018)
Edmonton Oilers – Talbot *NMC* (UFA 2019), Bossoit (RFA 2018)
Florida Panthers – Luongo (UFA 2022), Reimer (UFA 2021)
Los Angeles Kings – Quick (UFA 2023), Zatkoff (UFA 2018), Campbell (RFA 2018)
Minnesota Wild – Dubnyk (UFA 2021), Keumper (UFA 2017), Stalock (UFA 2017)
Montreal Canadiens – Price *NMC* (UFA 2018), Montoya (UFA 2019)
Nashville Predators – Rinne *NMC* (UFA 2019), Mazanec (RFA 2017)
New Jersey Devils – Schneider (UFA 2022), Wedgewood (RFA 2017), Kinkaid (UFA 2017)
New York Islanders – Halak (UFA 2018), Berube (RFA 2017), Bibson (RFA 2017), Greiss (UFA 2017)
New York Rangers – Lundqvist *NMC* (UFA 2021), Raanta (UFA 2018)
Ottawa Senators – Anderson (UFA 2018), Hammond (UFA 2018)
Philadelphia Flyers – Mason (UFA 2017), Stolarz (RFA 2017), Neuvirth (UFA 2017)
Pittsburgh Penguins – Fleury *NMC* (UFA 2019), Murray (RFA 2020)
San Jose Sharks – Jones (RFA 2018), Dell (RFA 2018)
St. Louis Blues – Allen (UFA 2021), Hutton (UFA 2018)
Tampa Bay Lightning – Bishop (UFA 2017), Vasilevskiy (RFA 2020), Gudlevskis (RFA 2017)
Toronto Maple Leafs – Andersen (UFA 2021), Bibeau (RFA 2017), Sparks (RFA 2017), Enroth (UFA 2017)
Vancouver Canucks – Miller (UFA 2017), Markstrom (UFA 2020), Bachman (UFA 2018)
Washington Capitals – Holtby (UFA 2020), Grubauer (RFA 2017), Cannata (UFA 2017)
Winnipeg Jets – Hutchinson (UFA 2018), Hellebuyck (RFA 2017), Pavelec (UFA 2017)

The Blackhawks, BJ’s, Predators, Devils, Islanders, Flyers, Lightning, Leafs, Caps, and Jets are all in the same situation. All they must do is simply make a qualifying offer to their RFA (restricted free agent) and they’ll be good to go. It’s not quite that cut and dry with RFA’s, but we’ll get into that another day.

Things get a bit hairier with the remaining teams. Let’s start with Buffalo. The Sabres have three Expansion eligible goalies on their current roster. All three are entering either restricted free agency or free agency. There are two options for the Sabres. 1) They can extend qualifying offers to both RFA’s, Lehner and Ullmark. They would then protect one, and leave the other exposed. 2) Extend a qualifying offer to one RFA and re-sign UFA Nilsson. Once again, protecting one, and exposing the other.

Finally there’s Calgary and Minnesota. Both teams have one goalie under contract beyond the Expansion Draft. They also each have two goalies under contract today, but heading to unrestricted free agency at the year’s end. To meet the requirement, both must sign a goalie, and leave him unprotected in June. Keep in mind, because the draft is before July 1st, teams cannot sign free agents off other rosters. So, each will be forced to re-up one of their UFA’s, only to offer him, and his likely short, friendly contract, to the Golden Knights.

EDIT: Calgary could opt to expose McCollum without re-signing either pending UFA. They do have 22-year-old goalie Jon Gilles, who is exempt, that could make the NHL roster next season. The Flames would however risk entering free agency with a 22-year-old as their only contracted goalie. (Stick tap @BrianEdel for pointing this out)

All in all, goalies are going to be a hot topic from now until the deadline, and then again before protection lists are due on June 17th. Anaheim and Montreal have already begun their preparations, and 13 others have work to do. Throw trades into the mix, and we’ve got a lot to cover the next six months. Should be fun.

**All contract terms are sourced from using their Expansion Tool.**


Al Montoya’s Deal In Montreal Was Expansion Inspired


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  1. Jason Sakuma

    I’m going to sound like an idiot here, but how does it work for a team like the Rangers? Lundqvist has the NMC and Raanta is UFA (2018). Would they need to move up a Goalie, sign him for a year or 2, protect Raanta, leave the new guy exposed and then they essentially they’ll have both Lundqvist and Raanta safe? I’m just trying to understand the rules to all of this. So if someone has a NMC, does that mean they’re already safe as long as they don’t waive that?

    • They can only protect 1 goalie. Since Henrik has the NMC, he is the one protected. If he chooses to waive it (he won’t) then they could protect Raanta. The only way to ensure both Lundqvist and Raanta are safe is if they make a deal with McPhee. Ex. Vegas does not take Raanta in exchange for the Rangers 3rd round pick.

      You are on the right path with what would have happened if NMC’s didn’t count as a protected player. However, because they do, the situation is incredibly simple. Lundqvist is protected, that’s their one.

      Make sense?

      • Jason Sakuma

        Yeah, that absolutely makes sense. Will us fans know about these back room deals between the 17th, when the lists are due, and the 21st?

        This is all really interesting. Glad we have places like this awesome site to walk people like me through the process. I appreciate all your knowledge. I read every article. Cant wait till the puck drops!

        • It’s going to be interesting to see how much information they give us during the Expansion Draft window. To my knowledge we ARE supposed to get the protection lists. Everything else, who knows. Going to be a blast to cover though.

  2. Tyler

    The Sabres have two goalies who will be RFA prior to the 2017-2018 season.

    So you can take them out.

  3. James

    @Ken Boehlke
    ‘Ex. Vegas does not take Raanta in exchange for the Rangers 3rd round pick.’

    Vegas does take Lehtonen or Niemi in exchange for the Stars 3rd round pick. Is that legal?

  4. RJ

    Awesome post, I love the technical details for the expansion draft. Thanks for doing the grunt work of digging in the weeds of the rules, I sure don’t want to.

    One question, what happens to teams that don’t meet the requirements? Certainly there is some sort of penalty and if the penalty is easier to deal with than tendering offers to players they don’t want perhaps they don’t plan on meeting the reqs.

    • They haven’t said exactly what the penalties would be other than the Deputy Commissioner calling them “stiff.” I highly doubt anyone falls outside of the rules. There will be a challenge or two for a few teams to meet them, but nothing they can’t solve by reaching out to McPhee to make something happen.

    • James

      A price of a first-round draft pick has been bandied about as punishment.

  5. Micheal

    From what I can see, Michael Hutchinson is signed through the 2017/2018 season and is a UFA after his current contract. No qualifying offer is needed for the Jets to meet expansion eligibility for goaltenders.

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