By Jeremy Perrigo
The NHL Expansion draft protection lists for all 30 existing NHL franchises were released Sunday Morning. This is two days ahead of when the Vegas Golden Knights are set to submit their selection roster on June 20th.
Vegas is required to pick from all 30 NHL rosters. With teams able to protect less players than in previous expansion drafts, the Golden Knights have a better chance of icing a stronger team next fall. At the very least, a team that doesn’t ride along in the 31st spot in the standings for the entire season.
Going into the draft the focus for the Bruins was on which three defensemen they would be protecting under the 7-3-1 format. The two obvious protections were Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug. Chara has a no-movement clause therefore the B’s would be forced to protect him regardless. Torey Krug was an obvious protection choice with eight goals and 43 assists for 51 points during the regular season, the most among Bruins defensemen.
The question was who would be the third B’s blueliner to be protected. Essentially the choice was between Kevan Miller and Colin Miller. Both Millers had 13 points during the regular season, with Kevan Miller averaging 17:47 time on ice to Colin who averaged 15:48. They are both right-shooting defensemen, Kevan is 29 and Colin is 24.
The Bruins decided to protect the hard-hitting, stay-at-home defenseman Kevan Miller. This is a decision I alluded to in a previous article about the draft. Colin Miller is still a question mark for the B’s as he has show flickers of offense at times but nothing consistent enough to bet on.
While Kevan Miller is not going to put up points for the Bruins on most nights, he provides stability on the back-end and, with crushing hits, intimidates opposing forwards. Kevan is also not afraid to stick up for his teammates. He had four fights during the regular season second on the team only to Adam McQuaid, who had five.
It may not matter much who the Bruins protected on defense. It is unclear who Vegas will select from Boston’s list of unprotected players. It may not be a defenseman at all.
There is still the potential that Vegas wants to select Bruins' goaltending prospect Malcolm Subban. Subban went 11-14-5 with the Bruins’ AHL affiliate in Providence this season. He finished with a GAA of 2.41 and save percentage of .917.
Subban has played in just two NHL games since being drafted by the B’s in 2012. The organization has shown little confidence in Subban and it is unclear if Vegas will want to take a chance on the 23 year-old by using their selection on him. There is the potential that the Golden Knights take upwards of seven goalies in the draft simply to use as negotiation pieces down the road.
Vegas submits its selections Tuesday and the picks will be announced Wednesday night, the 21st, during the NHL Awards which begin at 8pm ET.
(Photo: Los Angeles Times)