Mock Expansion Draft Results in Stud Defenders & Stellar Goaltenders

UFHL Mock Expansion Draft Results in Stud Defenders & Stellar Goaltenders

With the UFHL expansion franchise sale on the horizon — that auction ends March 1 at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT, now just over two weeks away — it is the perfect time for a mock expansion draft. The actual expansion draft will take place on July 21 — both for the Seattle Kraken in the NHL and the expansion franchise in the UFHL — but there will be several mocks conducted between now and then. The UFHL expansion process will mirror Seattle every step of the way, with the exception of Vegas players not being exempt since they are scattered across all 31 franchises in the UFHL. But no-move clauses will be honoured unless waived in the NHL and all the other rules will be in effect from CapFriendly’s expansion FAQ. The Seattle simulator tool was used to determine the eligibility status for all the players in the UFHL and is all kinds of fun for mocking Seattle’s potential draft results.

For this exercise, the UFHL rosters are reflective of Thursday, Feb. 11 — not accounting for a couple weekend blockbusters that went down on Friday and Saturday. The UFHL expansion franchise will select one player from each of the 31 franchises and must pick a minimum of 14 forwards, nine defenders and three goaltenders, plus five flex positions. The franchises are listed alphabetically, displaying their protected, exposed and exempt lists followed by the selection and a little analysis. There is a selection recap and a depth chart as well as some final thoughts to conclude this article. Without further ado, here are the results of the UFHL Mock Expansion Draft:

Battlehawks Protected Steven Stamkos (F) (NMC) John Tavares (F) (NMC) Kevin Hayes (F) (NMC) Ryan O’Reilly (F) William Karlsson (F) Jesper Bratt (F) Wayne Simmonds (F) John Klingberg (D) T.J. Brodie (D) David Savard (D) Jacob Markstrom (G) (NMC) Exposed Mattias Janmark (F) Alex Galchenyuk (F) Vinnie Hinostroza (F) Zemgus Girgensons (F) Josh Archibald (F) Jujhar Khaira (F) Riley Sheahan (F) Michael Frolik (F) Zach Bogosian (D) Cody Ceci (D) Greg Pateryn (D) Connor Carrick (D) Jani Hakanpaa (D) Kurtis MacDermid (D) Chad Ruhwedel (D) Jaroslav Halak (G) Exempt Ryan McLeod (F) Tyce Thompson (F) Sasha Mutala (F) Alexander Holtz (F) Kaiden Guhle (D) SELECTION: Alex Galchenyuk (F) ANALYSIS: Galchenyuk obviously hasn’t lived up to his draft position and potential, but he could be marketable for an expansion franchise as a high pick with some name value. Halak is the best player available from the Battlehawks, but there are plenty of quality goaltenders for this expansion draft. Janmark could be tempting if he continues to produce with Chicago, which could perhaps get him protected over Simmonds.

Blades of Steel Protected Auston Matthews (F) Mathew Barzal (F) Brayden Schenn (F) Jakub Vrana (F) Nikolaj Ehlers (F) Gabriel Landeskog (F) Jake DeBrusk (F) Josh Anderson (F) Ilya Samsonov (G) Exposed Mikael Backlund (F) Connor Brown (F) Sammy Blais (F) David Kampf (F) Sean Walker (D) Haydn Fleury (D) Jonas Siegenthaler (D) Ian Cole (D) Jon Merrill (D) Madison Bowey (D) Juuso Riikola (D) Darcy Kuemper (G) Exempt Ilya Mikheyev (F) Matej Pekar (F) John-Jason Peterka (F) John Marino (D) SELECTION: Haydn Fleury (D) ANALYSIS: With Marino exempt, it makes sense for the Blades of Steel to protect eight forwards under the eight skaters of any position configuration. That still leaves a few legit forwards with Backlund, Connor Brown and Blais, but Fleury flashed top-four potential in the bubble playoffs and is another top-10 pick just entering his prime years. Kuemper could certainly become one of the goaltenders for this expansion franchise if they aren’t high on Fleury’s upside.

Blizzard Protected Travis Konecny (F) Rickard Rakell (F) Max Domi (F) Ryan Strome (F) Lias Andersson (F) Andrew Shaw (F) Casey Cizikas (F) Noah Hanifin (D) Hampus Lindholm (D) Brandon Carlo (D) Thomas Greiss (G) Exposed Carl Soderberg (F) Tyler Ennis (F) Nic Deslauriers (F) Ryan Carpenter (F) Evgeny Svechnikov (F) Joey Anderson (F) Jonathan Dahlen (F) Alex Goligoski (D) Colin Miller (D) Gustav Lindstrom (D) Jacob Middleton (D) Kevan Miller (D) Anthony Bitetto (D) Jonathan Bernier (G) Calvin Pickard (G) Exempt Kaapo Kakko (F) Kristian Vesalainen (F) Hendrix Lapierre (F) Evan Barratt (F) Lean Bergmann (F) Adam Ruzicka (F) Daniel Torgersson (F) Isak Walther (F) Shakir Mukhamadullin (D) Filip Larsson (G) Victor Brattstrom (G) Keith Petruzzelli (G) Brian Boyle (F) (UFA) SELECTION: Jonathan Dahlen (F) ANALYSIS: Dahlen has been ripping it up in Sweden and will get another shot in North America, with San Jose wanting to get younger up front in the years to come. The expansion franchise will likely draft some players for the future and Dahlen could be a sneaky good selection. But the Blizzard could also go younger by protecting one or two of Dahlen, Evgeny Svechnikov and Joey Anderson rather than veterans Shaw and Cizikas. There aren’t a lot of options here, with Goligoski and Miller both overpriced on defence, though Goligoski’s cap hit should be coming down as a pending free agent. Miller might be more enticing to Seattle since he had the Vegas experience but that won’t factor into the decision making for this expansion franchise.

Brutes Protected Sidney Crosby (F) (NMC) Logan Couture (F) Zach Hyman (F) Eric Staal (F) David Krejci (F) Alex Kerfoot (F) Alex Nylander (F) Duncan Keith (D) (NMC) Shea Weber (D) Samuel Girard (D) Philipp Grubauer (G) Exposed Chris Tierney (F) Jason Spezza (F) Trevor Moore (F) Michael Amadio (F) Adam Brooks (F) Filip Chlapik (F) Gage Quinney (F) Brayden Burke (F) Damon Severson (D) Vince Dunn (D) Will Butcher (D) Brad Hunt (D) James Reimer (G) Pheonix Copley (G) Dan Vladar (G) Exempt Emil Bemstrom (F) John Leonard (F) Egor Korshkov (F) Marc Michaelis (F) Nick Abruzzese (F) Mackenzie Entwistle (F) Benoit-Olivier Groulx (F) Valtteri Puustinen (F) Fillip Hallander (F) Semyon Der-Arguchintsev (F) Ryan Suzuki (F) Michal Teply (F) Alexei Protas (F) Mikko Lehtonen (D) Timothy Liljegren (D) Kodie Curran (D) Joey Keane (D) Joseph Duszak (D) Joseph Woll (G) Drew Commesso (G) SELECTION: Vince Dunn (D) ANALYSIS: Dunn may not be available if the Brutes decide to protect four or even five defencemen — with one or two of Dunn, Severson and Butcher instead of Alex Nylander, Kerfoot and one or both of Krejci and Eric Staal. The Brutes could also expose Weber on the assumption that the expansion franchise wouldn’t want his contract — thus protecting Dunn or one of those aforementioned defenders instead of Weber — but Weber is still a fantasy beast in the present and would be a big loss for the Brutes’ blue line. If the Brutes do protect four or five defenders, then those forwards exposed as a result would become targets.

Crypto Knights Protected Mark Stone (F) (NMC) Taylor Hall (F) David Perron (F) Brock Nelson (F) Scott Laughton (F) Andrew Mangiapane (F) Ondrej Kase (F) Roman Josi (D) (NMC) Mark Giordano (D) Dmitry Orlov (D) Devan Dubnyk (G) Exposed Antoine Roussel (F) Michael Raffl (F) Mason Appleton (F) Dominik Simon (F) Sonny Milano (F) Zach Aston-Reese (F) Zach Senyshyn (F) Austin Czarnik (F) Tomas Jurco (F) Kole Lind (F) Dennis Cholowski (D) Jordan Oesterle (D) Luke Schenn (D) Fredrik Claesson (D) Martin Jones (G) Exempt Jakub Lauko (F) Arseni Gritsyuk (F) Nikola Pasic (F) Kaedan Korczak (D) Dmitri Samorukov (D) Jake Christiansen (D) SELECTION: Kole Lind (F) ANALYSIS: Lind is another promising forward prospect who could be on the expansion franchise’s radar but Crypto Knights owner Chericce Schulz might protect Lind over Ondrej Kase given her soft spot for Kelowna Rockets alums. In that case, Kase becomes the pick here as a top-six forward for the expansion franchise. The Crypto Knights would be exposing Jones in an attempt to dump his contract, but that seems unlikely with better options surely available between the pipes.

Duckman’s Domination Protected Nolan Patrick (F) Tyler Benson (F) Jordan Martinook (F) Brett Connolly (F) Jakob Silfverberg (F) Nick Bonino (F) Mark Jankowski (F) Dante Fabbro (D) Justin Schultz (D) William Lagesson (D) Antii Raanta (G) Exposed Loui Eriksson (F) Travis Zajac (F) Nate Thompson (F) Riley Nash (F) Brandon Pirri (F) Jordan Weal (F) Charles Hudon (F) Jason Demers (D) Niklas Hjalmarsson (D) Marc Staal (D) Scott Harrington (D) Patrik Nemeth (D) Scott Wedgewood (G) Cory Schneider (G) Exempt Alexander Barabanov (F) Ryan Poehling (F) Ty Dellandrea (F) Arthur Kaliyev (F) Jan Jenik (F) Matias Maccelli (F) Patrik Puistola (F) Connor Zary (F) Evan Vierling (F) Ryan Francis (F) Gunnarwolfe Fontaine (F) Pierre-Olivier Joseph (D) Philip Broberg (D) Matthew Robertson (D) Jordan Harris (D) Henry Thrun (D) Eemil Viro (D) Jacob Truscott (D) Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (G) Hunter Jones (G) Devon Levi (G) SELECTION: Scott Harrington (D) ANALYSIS: It’s slim pickings from Duckman’s but Harrington has had his moments this season for Columbus. Wedgewood could be another option but, again, there are better goaltenders to come. So Harrington becomes a less heralded selection with limited upside — not a sexy pick by any means.

Dynasty Protected Jeff Skinner (F) (NMC) Ryan Getzlaf (F) Jeff Carter (F) Phillip Danault (F) Dustin Brown (F) Tyler Johnson (F) Anthony Duclair (F) Jonas Brodin (D) (NMC) Kale Clague (D) Jacob Larsson (D) Sergei Bobrovsky (G) (NMC) Exposed Andreas Athanasiou (F) Artturi Lehkonen (F) Vladislav Namestnikov (F) Pat Maroon (F) Sam Gagner (F) Tobias Rieder (F) Dmytro Timashov (F) Denis Malgin (F) Olli Maatta (D) Justin Holl (D) Michal Kempny (D) Brian Dumoulin (D) Brett Kulak (D) Ben Hutton (D) Paul LaDue (D) Vitek Vanecek (G) Colton Point (G) Exempt Arttu Ruotsalainen (F) Logan Hutsko (F) John Beecher (F) Kasper Simontaival (F) Artem Zub (D) Theodor Lennstrom (D) Jack Rathbone (D) Brinson Pasichnuk (D) Josh Maniscalco (D) Max Crozier (D) Matt Kessel (D) Mason Langenbrunner (D) David Hrenak (G) Artur Akhtyamov (G) Melker Karlsson (F) (SHL) SELECTION: Andreas Athanasiou (F) ANALYSIS: Dynasty has some difficult decisions and Athanasiou might make the cut for the protected list if he continues to perform well for L.A. — especially knowing Dynasty’s owners are from L.A. and Kings fans. Essentially, they can protect two of Tyler Johnson, Duclair, Athanasiou and Lehkonen — Johnson could be dangled as a cap dump — but they could also expose veterans like Getzlaf, Carter and Dustin Brown in order to protect those aforementioned four. Ditto on defence, where Dynasty could protect another King in Maatta or potentially Holl over Jacob Larsson from the rival Ducks. Holl is trending up and making the most of his opportunity in Toronto, so he might play his way onto that protected list. Decisions, decisions … but if Athanasiou is exposed, he’d be the guy to grab. Lots of options to monitor here.

Eliminators Protected Jakub Voracek (F) Sam Reinhart (F) Dylan Strome (F) Dillon Dube (F) Radek Faksa (F) Lucas Wallmark (F) Josh Leivo (F) Alex Pietrangelo (D) (NMC) Ryan Murray (D) Markus Nutivaara (D) Tuukka Rask (G) Exposed Carl Hagelin (F) Cal Clutterbuck (F) Slater Koekkoek (D) Riley Stillman (D) Dmitry Kulikov (D) Kris Russell (D) Andrej Sekera (D) Steven Santini (D) David Rittich (G) Exempt Cody Glass (F) Martin Necas (F) Alexandre Texier (F) Joe Veleno (F) Drew O’Connor (F) Dominik Bokk (F) Philip Tomasino (F) Jakob Pelletier (F) Yegor Chinakhov (F) Theodor Niederbach (F) Vasili Ponomaryov (F) Josh Brook (D) Kevin Bahl (D) Wyatt Kalynuk (D) SELECTION: Cal Clutterbuck (F) ANALYSIS: The Eliminators don’t have much to offer — not with Glass, Necas and Texier being exempt — but Clutterbuck has a little value in leagues with hits as a scoring category like the UFHL. Koekkoek could be another option but neither would be much of a loss for the Eliminators or much of a gain for the expansion franchise.

Elite Assassins Protected Kyle Connor (F) Nico Hischier (F) Adam Lowry (F) Nick Foligno (F) Jacob Trouba (D) (NMC) Tyler Myers (D) Adam Larsson (D) Scott Mayfield (D) Cal Petersen (G) Exposed Brett Howden (F) Oskar Sundqvist (F) Travis Boyd (F) Trevor Lewis (F) Dylan DeMelo (D) Oliver Kylington (D) Max Lajoie (D) Derrick Pouliot (D) Brady Keeper (D) Jake Walman (D) Jonathan Quick (G) Anton Forsberg (G) Samuel Montembeault (G) Exempt Joakim Nygard (F) Nils Hoglander (F) Oliver Wahlstrom (F) Simon Holmstrom (F) Grigori Denisenko (F) Sasha Chmelevski (F) Mathias Emilio Pettersen (F) Dawson DiPietro (F) Urho Vaakanainen (D) Scott Perunovich (D) Otto Leskinen (D) Cam York (D) Samuel Bolduc (D) Tyler Kleven (D) Jeremie Poirier (D) Brendan Perlini (F) (UFA) SELECTION: Jonathan Quick (G) ANALYSIS: Quick could be on Seattle’s radar too — already knowing the Pacific Division shooters — if Los Angeles and the Elite Assassins both opt to protect the younger and cheaper Petersen from that Kings’ tandem. Petersen is earning his keep thus far but that could change as the season progresses. The Elite Assassins were forced to protect four defenders in order to expose the minimum two forwards. Sundqvist and Howden could be decent picks but Quick offers the most value for the expansion franchise.

Gators Protected Phil Kessel (F) (NMC) Nathan MacKinnon (F) J.T. Miller (F) James van Riemsdyk (F) Victor Olofsson (F) Evgenii Dadonov (F) Casey Mittelstadt (F) Kris Letang (D) (NMC) Keith Yandle (D) (NMC) Jaccob Slavin (D) Fredrik Andersen (G) Exposed Craig Smith (F) Calle Jarnkrok (F) Anders Bjork (F) Michael Dal Colle (F) Patrick Marleau (F) Evan Rodrigues (F) Colton Sceviour (F) Phil Di Giuseppe (F) Jacob de la Rose (F) German Rubtsov (F) Jake Bean (D) Victor Mete (D) Mike Reilly (D) Alec Martinez (D) Travis Hamonic (D) Zdeno Chara (D) Lawrence Pilut (D) (RFA, KHL) Malcolm Subban (G) Craig Anderson (G) Exempt Mathias Brome (F) Bobby Brink (F) Raphael Lavoie (F) Jamieson Rees (F) Ozzy Wiesblatt (F) Tristen Robins (F) Calen Addison (D) Reilly Walsh (D) Dominick Fensore (D) Ivan Nalimov (G) Linus Soderstrom (G) Leevi Merilainen (G) SELECTION: Jake Bean (D) ANALYSIS: Bean could be a boon for the expansion franchise on the blue line and the Gators seem destined to lose a good young defender — be it Bean or Mete. Bjork and Dal Colle are budding forwards of potential interest, while Craig Smith and Jarnkrok could also warrant consideration if the expansion franchise is wanting to win now and ice the best possible lineup for their debut season. The Gators have since made a blockbuster trade with the Outlaws, but it doesn’t change the configuration of their protected list, though they would be exposing fewer forwards now.

Generals Protected Tyler Seguin (F) (NMC) Vladimir Tarasenko (F) Patrik Laine (F) Clayton Keller (F) Troy Terry (F) Austin Wagner (F) Lane Pederson (F) Thomas Chabot (D) Mattias Ekholm (D) Ryan McDonagh (D) Thatcher Demko (G) Exposed Artem Anisimov (F) Conor Sheary (F) Cedric Paquette (F) Brandon Dubinsky (F) Jay Beagle (F) Nick Cousins (F) Dryden Hunt (F) Stefan Noesen (F) Brendan Guhle (D) Kyle Capobianco (D) Nikita Zaitsev (D) Julius Honka (D) Braydon Coburn (D) Carl Gunnarsson (D) Jordie Benn (D) Yannick Weber (D) Pavel Francouz (G) Hunter Miska (G) Exempt Joel Farabee (F) Barrett Hayton (F) Mason Lohrei (D) Mirco Mueller (D) (UFA) SELECTION: Brendan Guhle (D) ANALYSIS: The Generals won’t lose much sleep over their exposed list, with Guhle or Capobianco as the likeliest losses. The Generals could expose McDonagh — and his hefty contract — in order to protect one of those two younger defenders but neither would be missed all that much in the big picture. The expansion franchise could grab whoever is exposed between those two and move on to bigger and better things.

Godfathers Protected Conor Garland (F) Adrian Kempe (F) Jordan Greenway (F) Robby Fabbri (F) Colin White (F) Mikael Granlund (F) Joonas Donskoi (F) Marc-Edouard Vlasic (D) (NMC) Tony DeAngelo (D) Matt Grzelcyk (D) Carey Price (G) (NMC) Exposed James Neal (F) Nick Bjugstad (F) Valtteri Filppula (F) Daniel Sprong (F) Rudolfs Balcers (F) Pierre Engvall (F) Alexander Volkov (F) Nic Petan (F) Rasmus Asplund (F) Matthew Phillips (F) Mark Pysyk (D/F) Brendan Smith (D) Nick Jensen (D) Sami Niku (D) Radim Simek (D) Dennis Gilbert (D) Jake Allen (G) Exempt Kasper Bjorkqvist (F) Max Cajkovic (F) Ryder Donovan (F) Will Cuylle (F) Martin Fehervary (D) Tyler Tucker (D) John Ludvig (D) Mattias Norlinder (D) William Wallinder (D) Samuel Ersson (G) Matt Villalta (G) Tim Heed (D) (UFA) SELECTION: Jake Allen (G) ANALYSIS: Allen is another goaltender expected to be on Seattle’s list of targets and the UFHL expansion franchise will also be taking notice of his strong start with Montreal. If Allen is going to be Seattle’s starter, he’d be a prime target for this expansion franchise. If Neal picks up his scoring pace, perhaps he enters the conversation, but the expansion franchise is more likely to be keeping tabs on the Godfathers’ half-dozen younger forwards in Sprong, Balcers, Engvall, Volkov, Asplund and Phillips. Unless one of them takes a significant leap, Allen appears to be the obvious choice here.

Grizzlies Protected Leon Draisaitl (F) Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (F) Jaden Schwartz (F) Teuvo Teravainen (F) Nazem Kadri (F) Alex Tuch (F) Kailer Yamamoto (F) Mikhail Sergachev (D) Jake Gardiner (D) Ethan Bear (D) Connor Hellebuyck (G) Exposed Chandler Stephenson (F) J.T. Compher (F) Jared McCann (F) Warren Foegele (F) Dominik Kahun (F) Sean Kuraly (F) Matt Nieto (F) Bryan Little (F) Frederik Gauthier (F) Alan Quine (F) Marcus Pettersson (D) Matt Roy (D) Ryan Graves (D) Dean Kukan (D) Dylan Coghlan (D) Alexandar Georgiev (G) Stuart Skinner (G) Exempt Evan Bouchard (D) Tobias Bjornfot (D) David Gustafsson (F) Nathan Legare (F) Matej Blumel (F) Dylan Holloway (F) Brandon Coe (F) Ilya Konovalov (G) SELECTION: Jared McCann (F) ANALYSIS: Lots of mediocre options available here, with McCann perhaps offering the most upside — that is debatable, of course. Marcus Pettersson stands out among the available defenders, along with a handful of comparable forwards and even Georgiev as a goaltender. Mediocre is the word that comes to mind, but the Grizzlies will surely be giving up a serviceable player to the expansion franchise.

Ice Vikings Protected Mika Zibanejad (F) (NMC) Chris Kreider (F) (NMC) Brady Tkachuk (F) Robert Thomas (F) Tom Wilson (F) Sean Monahan (F) Oliver Bjorkstrand (F) Josh Morrissey (D) Jake Muzzin (D) Alex Edler (D) John Gibson (G) Exposed Evander Kane (F) Kasperi Kapanen (F) Joel Eriksson Ek (F) Boone Jenner (F) Adam Gaudette (F) Teddy Blueger (F) Tyler Pitlick (F) Zack MacEwen (F) Trent Frederic (F) Karson Kuhlman (F) Jamie Oleksiak (D) Brenden Dillon (D) Radko Gudas (D) Luca Sbisa (D) Kaapo Kahkonen (G) Aaron Dell (G) Exempt Vasili Podkolzin (F) Alexander Khovanov (F) Marco Rossi (F) Luke Evangelista (F) Morgan Barron (F) K’Andre Miller (D) Erik Brannstrom (D) Max Gildon (D) Michael DiPietro (G) Dustin Wolf (G) SELECTION: Kasperi Kapanen (F) ANALYSIS: The Ice Vikings have since made a blockbuster with the Mystics that could alter their protected list, but for the sake of this exercise they protected Bjorkstrand over Evander Kane, who was passed up by the expansion franchise in favour of Kapanen. Eriksson Ek got off to a hot start and could overtake Kapanen — assuming Kane’s off-ice woes get him overlooked despite his multi-cat capabilities that make him a valuable commodity in the UFHL. One of those three forwards make the most sense but Oleksiak could warrant consideration on defence and so could Kahkonen as Minnesota’s future starter in goal. All that said, Kane would be tough to pass up if he is exposed.

Kamikaze Protected Jamie Benn (F) (NMC) Milan Lucic (F) (NMC) Sam Bennett (F) Valeri Nichushkin (F) Frank Vatrano (F) Gustav Nyquist (F) Logan Brown (F) P.K. Subban (D) Josh Manson (D) Noah Juulsen (D) Semyon Varlamov (G) Exposed Henrik Borgstrom (F) (RFA, Liiga) Mathieu Perreault (F) Andrew Cogliano (F) Noel Acciari (F) Keegan Kolesar (F) Givani Smith (F) Vitaly Abramov (F) Glenn Gawdin (F) Luke Glendening (F) Joakim Nordstrom (F) Kevin Rooney (F) David Backes (F) Darren Helm (F) Justin Braun (D) Erik Gudbranson (D) Niko Mikkola (D) Nikita Nesterov (D) Jalen Chatfield (D) Henrik Lundqvist (G) Anders Nilsson (G) Marcus Hogberg (G) Joey Daccord (G) Filip Gustavsson (G) Exempt Mathieu Olivier (F) Vitali Kravtsov (F) Matt Boldy (F) Samuel Poulin (F) Connor McMichael (F) Brayden Tracey (F) Jack Quinn (F) Brendan Brisson (F) Ridly Greig (F) Roby Jarventie (F) Luke Tuch (F) Cross Hanas (F) Nikolai Knyzhov (D) Mortiz Seider (D) Nic Beaudin (D) Jared McIsaac (D) David Farrance (D) Kevin Mandolese (G) SELECTION: Andrew Cogliano (F) ANALYSIS: Cogliano is more effective in the real world than in fantasy, so the expansion franchise might be better off taking a swing on a project like Borgstrom, Kolesar, Abramov or Gawdin. Cogliano is the safer pick, obviously, but Kamikaze would be one of the franchises to roll the dice on since their established players on the exposed list are nothing special. Well, Lundqvist is a special one and could be worth selecting for his future value in the Legends League, if not for the present. But if he retires prior to the expansion draft, Lundqvist would be scratched off that exposed list.

Monarchs Protected Nikita Kucherov (F) (NMC) Pierre-Luc Dubois (F) Anthony Cirelli (F) Yanni Gourde (F) Alex Killorn (F) Miles Wood (F) Carter Verhaeghe (F) Victor Hedman (D) (NMC) Nikita Zadorov (D) Jake McCabe (D) Ben Bishop (G) (NMC) Exposed Colton Sissons (F) Lawson Crouse (F) Christian Fischer (F) Yakov Trenin (F) Frans Nielsen (F) Kyle Clifford (F) Ross Johnston (F) Eric Robinson (F) Devin Shore (F) Zack Smith (F) Nathan Beaulieu (D) Nick Holden (D) Jarred Tinordi (D) Tristan Jarry (G) Exempt Josh Norris (F) Egor Afanasyev (F) Robert Mastrosimone (F) Gage Goncalves (F) Donovan Sebrango (D) Hugo Alnefelt (G) SELECTION: Colton Sissons (F) ANALYSIS: The expansion franchise could zero in on a few forwards from the Monarchs — Sissons, Crouse and Fischer, with the potential for Trenin to enter that conversation. That is assuming Jarry doesn’t rebound in goal. If Jarry returns to form, he could wind up topping the list of targets from the Monarchs — Bishop has to be protected because of his no-move clause, assuming he isn’t bought out before the expansion draft. Sissons would be another safe selection as a middle-six forward, but Crouse might have more upside given his penchant for penalty minutes and physicality.

Mystics Protected Claude Giroux (F) (NMC) Charlie Coyle (F) (NMC) Mats Zuccarello (F) (NMC) Anthony Beauvillier (F) Jack Roslovic (F) Pavel Zacha (F) Joe Pavelski (F) Erik Johnson (D) (NMC) Seth Jones (D) Travis Sanheim (D) Oscar Dansk (G) Exposed Paul Stastny (F) Mathieu Joseph (F) Mitchell Stephens (F) Jesper Fast (F) Matt Calvert (F) Chris Wagner (F) Brock McGinn (F) Anton Stralman (D) Josh Brown (D) Jakob Zboril (D) Libor Hajek (D) John Moore (D) Mike Smith (G) Carter Hutton (G) Exempt Sampo Ranta (F) Sam Colangelo (F) Daniil Gushchin (F) Martin Chromiak (F) Conor Timmins (D) Drew Helleson (D) Lukas Dostal (G) Mads Sogaard (G) Justin Abdelkader (F) (UFA) SELECTION: Paul Stastny (F) ANALYSIS: The Mystics’ exposed list wouldn’t be impacted by that aforementioned blockbuster with the Ice Vikings, so Stastny still stands out as the target here. Joseph, Stephens, Zboril and Hajek should be tracked by the expansion franchise, but they would need a real emergence to justify selecting over Stastny as a proven fantasy performer. Unless the expansion franchise is taking on other big contracts, then passing on Stastny for salary-cap purposes becomes a possibility.

Norse Stars Protected Ryan Johansen (F) Matt Duchene (F) Jean-Gabriel Pageau (F) Erik Karlsson (D) (NMC) Ryan Suter (D) (NMC) Esa Lindell (D) Cal Foote (D) Zach Whitecloud (D) Casey DeSmith (G) Exposed Nick Merkley (F) Janne Kuokkanen (F) Curtis Lazar (F) Blake Comeau (F) Richard Panik (F) Derek Grant (F) Colin Blackwell (F) Mackenzie MacEachern (F) Joel L’Esperance (F) Jeremy Lauzon (D) Connor Clifton (D) Dakota Mermis (D) Collin Delia (G) Alex Lyon (G) Exempt Joel Kiviranta (F) Jason Robertson (F) Gaetan Haas (F) Trey Fix-Wolansky (F) Riley Tufte (F) Ruslan Iskhakov (F) Jacob Perreault (F) Noel Gunler (F) Egor Sokolov (F) Ty Smilanic (F) Maxim Groshev (F) Alexander Alexeyev (D) Connor Mackey (D) Cam Lee (D) Axel Andersson (D) Anttoni Honka (D) Braden Schneider (D) Ryan O’Rourke (D) Olle Eriksson Ek (G) Emil Larmi (G) Joel Blomqvist (G) Nico Daws (G) Christoffer Ehn (F) (UFA) SELECTION: Nick Merkley (F) ANALYSIS: The Norse Stars are protecting five defencemen in this scenario and that fifth defender could be their biggest decision — between Whitecloud, who is turning heads for Vegas in the early stages, and Lauzon, who is already playing on Boston’s top pairing. For the expansion franchise, they are likely deciding between that odd-man out on defence and two young Devils forwards in Merkley or Kuokkanen. Merkley still offers more upside, but Kuokkanen has been playing ahead of him for New Jersey thus far this season.

Outlaws Protected Dylan Larkin (F) Tomas Hertl (F) Max Pacioretty (F) T.J. Oshie (F) Jonathan Marchessault (F) Vincent Trocheck (F) Kyle Palmieri (F) Torey Krug (D) Colton Parayko (D) Rasmus Ristolainen (D) Juuse Saros (G) Exposed Nino Niederreiter (F) Andrew Copp (F) Ryan Reaves (F) Johan Larsson (F) Nic Dowd (F) Filip Hronek (D) Caleb Jones (D) Michael Del Zotto (D) Logan Stanley (D) Derek Forbort (D) Ilya Lyubushkin (D) Pekka Rinne (G) Exempt Noah Gregor (F) SELECTION: Filip Hronek (D) ANALYSIS: Hronek would be a nice building block for the expansion franchise — as would Ristolainen if he was exposed by the Outlaws in order to protect Hronek. Palmieri could be exposed in order to protect Niederreiter up front as another difficult decision for the Outlaws, but the expansion franchise can focus on a defender here. That is, unless the Outlaws opted to protect four defenders — thus protecting both Ristolainen and Hronek, while exposing three more quality forwards. That would include both Palmieri and Niederreiter as well as Trocheck and likely Marchessault but possibly Oshie. The Outlaws boast a deep roster, which ensures plenty of options for the expansion franchise — even more so following a recent blockbuster with Gators that added a couple more forwards to the exposed list.

Red Army Protected Evgeni Malkin (F) (NMC) Patrick Kane (F) (NMC) Mikko Rantanen (F) Tyler Toffoli (F) Jonathan Drouin (F) Jesse Puljujarvi (F) Sam Steel (F) Drew Doughty (D) (NMC) John Carlson (D) Miro Heiskanen (D) Carter Hart (G) Exposed Joel Armia (F) Brendan Lemieux (F) Taro Hirose (F) Michael McCarron (F) Charlie McAvoy (D) Alex Biega (D) Brian Elliott (G) Exempt Jack Hughes (F) Kirby Dach (F) Nick Suzuki (F) Filip Zadina (F) Gabriel Vilardi (F) Kirill Kaprizov (F) Alexis Lafreniere (F) Tim Stutzle (F) Trevor Zegras (F) Nick Robertson (F) Lucas Raymond (F) Quinn Hughes (D) Adam Fox (D) Adam Boqvist (D) Jamie Drysdale (D) Lukas Cormier (D) Anton Johannesson (D) Igor Shesterkin (G) Yaroslav Askarov (G) Erik Portillo (G) SELECTION: Charlie McAvoy (D) ANALYSIS: This would be a no-brainer, but the chances of McAvoy actually being available are slim to none. Red Army will find a trade partner between the conclusion of the Klein Cup playoffs and the July 17 deadline for protected lists. Failing that, Red Army will strike a deal with the expansion franchise to avoid picking McAvoy — much like Minnesota did with Vegas, parting with Alex Tuch to prevent Vegas from taking Matt Dumba or Jonas Brodin back in 2017. Red Army isn’t afraid to open the wallet if need be, so McAvoy is more of a pipedream. Unless the expansion franchise is purchased by a Bruins fan that can’t be bought off and isn’t willing to budge off selecting McAvoy, but it’s doubtful it comes to that, with Red Army sure to have several suitors on the trade front. Armia or Lemieux would be a decent consolation prize — as would Steel as a younger forward if Red Army exposed him in order to protect Armia or Lemieux.

Rock Republic Protected Patrice Bergeron (F) (NMC) Jack Eichel (F) Sebastian Aho (F) Timo Meier (F) Jesperi Kotkaniemi (F) Luke Kunin (F) Blake Coleman (F) Rasmus Andersson (D) Henri Jokiharju (D) Nic Hague (D) Jordan Binnington (G) Exposed Tanner Pearson (F) Jake Virtanen (F) Nick Paul (F) Max Jones (F) Michael Rasmussen (F) Isac Lundestrom (F) William Carrier (F) Garrett Hathaway (F) Austin Watson (F) Michael McLeod (F) Alex True (F) Cale Fleury (D) Connor Murphy (D) Joel Edmundson (D) Robert Hagg (D) Mark Boroweicki (D) Marc-Andre Fleury (G) Exempt Morgan Frost (F) Klim Kostin (F) Jaret Anderson-Dolan (F) Alex Formenton (F) Martin Kaut (F) Isaac Ratcliffe (F) Shane Pinto (F) Alex Newhook (F) Dawson Mercer (F) Lukas Reichel (F) Jake Neighbours (F) Mario Ferraro (D) Egor Zamula (D) Lassi Thomson (D) Thomas Harley (D) Ryan Merkley (D) Bode Wilde (D) Spencer Knight (G) SELECTION: Marc-Andre Fleury (G) ANALYSIS: Fleury would make for quite the goaltending tandem with Quick. The expansion franchise is certain to get two starters and could draft as many as four — flipping the other two in trades prior to next season. Quick and Fleury may be past their prime but both would have value for the Legends League and Fleury is still playing stellar in the present. Seattle could be eyeing Fleury too for his experience in backstopping Vegas as an expansion franchise. Rock Republic can flip a coin for their final protected forward — be it Coleman, Pearson or Virtanen — but Marc-Andre Fleury trumps all of the above. Fleury is no relation to previous pick, Haydn Fleury, whose younger brother Cale is also exposed here by Rock Republic, but Marc-Andre’s availability rules out that reunion too.

Royals Protected Jonathan Huberdeau (F) (NMC) Alex Ovechkin (F) Kevin Fiala (F) Tomas Tatar (F) Ondrej Palat (F) Denis Gurianov (F) Mike Hoffman (F) Jakob Chychrun (D) Ryan Pulock (D) Ben Chiarot (D) Mikko Koskinen (G) Exposed Patric Hornqvist (F) Joe Thornton (F) Brandon Tanev (F) Blake Lizotte (F) Jake Evans (F) Carson Soucy (D) Mikhail Berdin (G) Exempt Dominik Kubalik (F) Jesper Boqvist (F) Liam Foudy (F) Jack Studnicka (F) Quinton Byfield (F) Tyler Madden (F) Jack Dugan (F) Brandon Biro (F) Jack Finley (F) Emil Heineman (F) Jaydon Dureau (F) Bowen Byram (D) Victor Soderstrom (D) Ville Heinola (D) Jacob Bernard-Docker (D) Jacob Bryson (D) Jordan Spence (D) Ilya Sorokin (G) Joel Hofer (G) Taylor Leier (F) (UFA) SELECTION: Brandon Tanev (F) ANALYSIS: Tanev is another middle-six forward who chips in across multiple scoring categories for the UFHL but doesn’t make an overly big impact. Hornqvist is the more proven scorer (albeit on the back nine of his career), Thornton is a stud for the Legends League, Lizotte has decent upside as an offensive catalyst, and Berdin could be considered for the goaltending pipeline. The expansion franchise could see the long-term value in Thornton as a Legend, but Tanev or Lizotte make more sense in the present and offer decent bang for their buck in a salary-cap league that mirrors the NHL.

Snipers Protected Nicklas Backstrom (F) (NMC) Roope Hintz (F) Reilly Smith (F) Erik Haula (F) Lars Eller (F) Julien Gauthier (F) Morgan Geekie (F) Jeff Petry (D) (NMC) Ryan Ellis (D) Justin Faulk (D) Matt Murray (G) Exposed Derick Brassard (F) Paul Byron (F) Aleksi Saarela (F) (RFA, Liiga) Martin Frk (F) Leo Komarov (F) Steven Lorentz (F) Stefan Matteau (F) Sami Vatanen (D) Stephen Johns (D) Marco Scandella (D) Robert Bortuzzo (D) Ville Husso (G) Connor Ingram (G) Exempt Alex Turcotte (F) Cole Caufield (F) Cole Perfetti (F) Seth Jarvis (F) Jan Mysak (F) Rasmus Kupari (F) Jack Drury (F) John Farinacci (F) Dmitri Voronkov (F) Joni Ikonen (F) Juuso Valimaki (D) Alexander Romanov (D) Jake Sanderson (D) Jakub Skarek (G) Pyotr Kochetkov (G) Tom Kuhnhackl (F) (UFA) Ville Meskanen (F) (UFA) Ilya Kovalchuk (F) (KHL) SELECTION: Derick Brassard (F) ANALYSIS: Brassard has been up and down in recent years in terms of fantasy production but still has the talent to be a middle-six contributor. Vatanen might be a better candidate from the Snipers — he is a few years younger than Brassard — but Vatanen hasn’t been very consistent either and the expansion franchise is going to be plenty deep on the back end without him. Most would pick Vatanen between the two, so it wouldn’t be surprising if the expansion franchise went that route. If not keen on Brassard and not wanting to stockpile defenders, Ingram, Husso and Aleksi Saarela could also become options from the Snipers.

Stallions Protected Anze Kopitar (F) Bo Horvat (F) Matthew Tkachuk (F) Nick Schmaltz (F) Christian Dvorak (F) Brandon Saad (F) Tage Thompson (F) Kevin Shattenkirk (D) Nate Schmidt (D) Brett Pesce (D) Chris Driedger (G) Exposed Tyler Bozak (F) Kyle Turris (F) Mikhael Grigorenko (F) Zack Kassian (F) Alex Chiasson (F) Adam Pelech (D) Matt Benning (D) Joe Hicketts (D) Andy Greene (D) Anthony Stolarz (G) Exempt Dylan Cozens (F) Brett Leason (F) Serron Noel (F) Akil Thomas (F) Adam Beckman (F) Kirill Marchenko (F) Nikolai Kovalenko (F) Nikita Alexandrov (F) Vladislav Firstov (F) Jay O’Brien (F) Patrick Moynihan (F) Anton Lundell (F) Rodion Amirov (F) Dylan Samberg (D) Ryan Johnson (D) Jayden Struble (D) Artemi Kniazev (D) Elvis Merzlikins (G) Ivan Prosvetov (G) Veini Vehvilainen (G) Isaiah Saville (G) Jimmy Howard (G) (UFA) SELECTION: Tyler Bozak (F) ANALYSIS: Bozak has trended down in St. Louis but could enjoy a resurgence with a change of scenery between now and next season. He is another one of those veteran middle-six forwards who can put up 30 to 40 points. There won’t be many first-line forwards available in this expansion draft — more so starting goaltenders and an abundance of top-four defenders — so Bozak wouldn’t be a bad option for icing a deep group up front. Depth should be a strength for the UFHL expansion franchise — much like it was for Vegas in their inaugural season before acquiring more star power.

Stingrays Protected Sean Couturier (F) Jake Guentzel (F) Alex DeBrincat (F) Elias Lindholm (F) Josh Bailey (F) Cam Atkinson (F) Viktor Arvidsson (F) Tyson Barrie (D) Cam Fowler (D) Oscar Klefbom (D) Cam Talbot (G) Exposed Ryan Hartman (F) Zach Sanford (F) Jimmy Vesey (F) Drake Caggiula (F) Dylan Gambrell (F) Adam Erne (F) Matt Martin (F) Brent Burns (D) Michael Matheson (D) Brayden McNabb (D) Troy Stecher (D) Matt Irwin (D) Martin Marincin (D) Laurent Brossoit (G) Exempt Helge Grans (D) SELECTION: Brent Burns (D) ANALYSIS: Burns might not be available to the expansion franchise — Klefbom’s injury status could make him exempt, thus opening up another protected spot for Burns, and the Stingrays may protect Burns over Klefbom because of that injury uncertainty. Klefbom has a nice contract if he is returning for next season, while Burns has a big cap hit with a whole lot of term left ($8M through 2025). The Stingrays would be exposing Burns with the expectation that the expansion franchise wouldn’t want that contract, but the expansion franchise could afford to build around Burns for the foreseeable future. Burns is still an impact player in the UFHL — and all fantasy leagues — so he’d be hard to pass up as a valuable asset and another face of the franchise. If Klefbom is exempt and Burns is protected, the expansion franchise would probably have to settle for Hartman or Sanford as another physical forward. That would be a disappointing downgrade, obviously.

Strong Island Protected Andrei Svechnikov (F) Aleksander Barkov (F) Brayden Point (F) Filip Forsberg (F) Rasmus Dahlin (D) Dougie Hamilton (D) Darnell Nurse (D) Matt Dumba (D) Braden Holtby (G) Exposed Adam Henrique (F) Alex Iafallo (F) Danton Heinen (F) Ryan Dzingel (F) Jason Dickinson (F) John Hayden (F) Marcus Sorensen (F) Christian Djoos (D) Tucker Poolman (D) Jack Johnson (D) Kevin Lankinen (G) Adin Hill (G) Alex Stalock (G) Exempt Zion Nybeck (F) SELECTION: Alex Iafallo (F) ANALYSIS: Iafallo is a fairly easy selection from Strong Island, which has fairly easy decisions for their protected list in the present. If Lankinen keeps starring for Chicago, it’s possible he becomes the goaltender to protect ahead of Holtby, who then becomes a serious candidate for the expansion franchise. Holtby has already been mocked to Seattle many times — with Vancouver expected to protect Thatcher Demko as their goaltender of the future — so it would be fitting if Holtby also wound up with the UFHL expansion franchise. As of now, Iafallo is the betting favourite from Strong Island.

Titans Protected David Pastrnak (F) Mark Scheifele (F) William Nylander (F) Pavel Buchnevich (F) Andre Burakovsky (F) Andreas Johnsson (F) Jordan Eberle (F) Cale Makar (D) Morgan Rielly (D) Travis Dermott (D) Andrei Vasilevskiy (G) Exposed Oskar Lindblom (F) Ivan Barbashev (F) Keifer Bellows (F) Nick Ritchie (F) Marcus Foligno (F) Bobby Ryan (F) Nicolas Aube-Kubel (F) Mason Marchment (F) Brandon Montour (D) Philippe Myers (D) MacKenzie Weegar (D) Linus Ullmark (G) Exempt Eetu Luostarinen (F) Eeli Tolvanen (F) Aleksi Heponiemi (F) Samuel Fagemo (F) Mikhail Abramov (F) Tyson Foerster (F) Mavrik Bourque (F) Roni Hirvonen (F) Ty Smith (D) Rasmus Sandin (D) Zachary Jones (D) Oskari Laaksonen (D) Wyatt Wylie (D) Emil Andrae (D) Jake Oettinger (G) Ian Scott (G) SELECTION: Philippe Myers (D) ANALYSIS: The expansion franchise would be able to choose between a couple of quality defenders from the Titans — two of Myers, Montour and Dermott would need to be exposed — so it would make sense to target that position here. The Titans will also be exposing a couple of quality forwards with two of Lindblom, Bellows and Eberle missing the cut for the current protected list. If Eberle is exposed, he could become a tempting target for the expansion franchise, but those defenders still seem more valuable.

Tornadoes Protected Jonathan Toews (F) (NMC) Kevin Labanc (F) Ryan Donato (F) Tyson Jost (F) Carl Grundstrom (F) Alexander Wennberg (F) Alex Barre-Boulet (F) Oliver Ekman-Larsson (D) (NMC) Nick Leddy (D) Josh Mahura (D) Jack Campbell (G) Exposed Derek Stepan (F) Tomas Nosek (F) Victor Rask (F) Josh Ho-Sang (F) Micheal Ferland (F) Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (F) Matthew Highmore (F) Matt Luff (F) Vinni Lettieri (F) Chris Tanev (D) Danny DeKeyser (D) Ian McCoshen (D) Eric Comrie (G) Matiss Kivlenieks (G) Exempt Philipp Kurashev (F) Nolan Foote (F) Jonatan Berggren (F) Nate Schnarr (F) Riley Damiani (F) Graeme Clarke (F) Sammy Walker (F) Pavel Dorofeyev (F) Marat Khusnutdinov (F) Andrew Peeke (D) Antti Tuomisto (D) Justin Barron (D) Topi Niemela (D) Yan Kuznetsov (D) Jeremy Swayman (G) Jan Bednar (G) Jeremy Bracco (F) (UFA) SELECTION: Derek Stepan (F) ANALYSIS: Stepan is another vet who could give the expansion franchise power in numbers by stockpiling middle-six forwards to form a deep group up front. With the lack of front-liners, it makes sense to load up on 40-point forwards and Stepan is still capable of that output. The expansion franchise could take a flyer on Ho-Sang or one of those younger goaltenders but Stepan is more of a sure thing.

Warriors Protected Blake Wheeler (F) (NMC) Zach Parise (F) (NMC) Alexander Radulov (F) (NMC) Jordan Staal (F) (NMC) Elias Pettersson (F) Anders Lee (F) Filip Chytil (F) Jared Spurgeon (D) (NMC) Ivan Provorov (D) Devon Toews (D) Petr Mrazek (G) Exposed Sam Lafferty (F) Derek Ryan (F) Brett Ritchie (F) Dylan Sikura (F) Antti Suomela (F) Jayden Halbgewachs (F) Brady Skjei (D) Calvin de Haan (D) Christian Wolanin (D) Brogan Rafferty (D) Sebastian Aho (D) Michael Stone (D) Anton Khudobin (G) Exempt Owen Tippett (F) Martin Pospisil (F) Lauri Pajuniemi (F) Thomas Bordeleau (F) Jimmy Schuldt (D) Brock Faber (D) Cayden Primeau (G) SELECTION: Christian Wolanin (D) ANALYSIS: Skjei is the best player available here and the Warriors would rather lose him to alleviate their cap crunch and accommodate Pettersson’s next contract, but Wolanin and Rafferty could be more intriguing options for the expansion franchise. Wolanin has shown flashes since recovering from injury and could have top-four potential. Rafferty is less established but seems to have similar upside. Halbgewachs could be another sleeper pick from the Warriors, who would be wise to entice the expansion franchise to take a bigger contract — be it Skjei or one of their no-move clauses via trade. Yes, the expansion franchise will be able to make trades in finalizing their selections for the expansion draft — those trades would be announced as part of the expansion draft on July 21, just as they were for Vegas in adding more suspense to that event.

West Coast Express Protected Brad Marchand (F) (NMC) Brendan Gallagher (F) (NMC) Evgeny Kuznetsov (F) Johnny Gaudreau (F) Jason Zucker (F) Tyler Bertuzzi (F) Jordan Kyrou (F) Shea Theodore (D) Aaron Ekblad (D) Olli Juolevi (D) Robin Lehner (G) Exposed Marcus Johansson (F) Corey Perry (F) Tyler Motte (F) Rocco Grimaldi (F) Brad Richardson (F) Yegor Sharangovich (F) Vladislav Kamenev (F) (RFA, KHL) Shayne Gostisbehere (D) Erik Gustafsson (D) Vladislav Gavrikov (D) Brennan Menell (D) (RFA, KHL) Curtis McElhinney (G) Exempt Nikita Gusev (F) Pius Suter (F) Peyton Krebs (F) Jesse Ylonen (F) Joachim Blichfeld (F) Patrick Harper (F) Tanner Laczynski (F) Noah Dobson (D) Jack Ahcan (D) Chase Priskie (D) Nils Lundkvist (D) Nikita Tryamkin (D) (RFA, KHL) Daniil Tarasov (G) Kirill Ustimenko (G) Nikolai Prokhorkin (F) (UFA, KHL) SELECTION: Yegor Sharangovich (F) ANALYSIS: Sharangovich looked great out of the gate this season and could become a building block for the expansion franchise’s future, but West Coast Express will be exposing more proven options such as Marcus Johansson, Motte and Perry up front as well as the Triple G defence trio of Gostisbehere, Gustafsson and Gavrikov. Sharangovich would be something of a reach to pass on those six candidates, so the expansion franchise would need to be confident in Sharangovich’s potential as a top-six forward. Menell could be another reach as a potential top-four defender but, again, there are a few seemingly better options here with West Coast Express. Every franchise will be losing one player in the expansion draft and West Coast Express could be losing a fairly valuable one among those eight candidates.

Yetis Protected Artemi Panarin (F) (NMC) Connor McDavid (F) Mitch Marner (F) Brock Boeser (F) Anthony Mantha (F) Drake Batherson (F) Nic Roy (F) Zach Werenski (D) Neal Pionk (D) Erik Cernak (D) Joonas Korpisalo (G) Exposed Bryan Rust (F) Barclay Goodrow (F) Jansen Harkins (F) Jayce Hawryluk (F) Cody Eakin (F) Carter Rowney (F) Kiefer Sherwood (F) Rem Pitlick (F) Ryan Lindgren (D) Jan Rutta (D) Trevor van Riemsdyk (D) Mackenzie Blackwood (G) Exempt Max Comtois (F) Lucas Elvenes (F) Ian Mitchell (D) Mikey Anderson (D) Justus Annunen (G) Adam Werner (G) Michael Grabner (F) (UFA) SELECTION: Mackenzie Blackwood (G) ANALYSIS: Blackwood appears to be New Jersey’s starter going forward and he is locked in for a couple more seasons at a bargain price, so he’d be a good fit for the expansion franchise. Granted, they already drafted Quick, Fleury and Allen as goaltenders, but they will easily and immediately be able to flip two of those four for nice returns — potentially for the first-line forwards that aren’t available in this draft. So it is all about asset management and maximizing those returns, which Vegas did masterfully. Take what’s given to you and turn it into what you want. The Yetis have a tough call between Korpisalo or Blackwood, but the expansion franchise likely selects whoever is exposed. The Yetis protected Roy over Rust for cap reasons but also in hopes of shedding Rust’s salary while retaining their goaltending tandem. That might be wishful thinking, with all signs pointing to a goalie here.

Selection Recap Forwards (17) Alex Galchenyuk (F) — Battlehawks Jonathan Dahlen (F) — Blizzard Kole Lind (F) — Crypto Knights Andreas Athanasiou (F) — Dynasty Cal Clutterbuck (F) — Eliminators Jared McCann (F) — Grizzlies Kasperi Kapanen (F) — Ice Vikings Andrew Cogliano (F) — Kamikaze Colton Sissons (F) — Monarchs Paul Stastny (F) — Mystics Nick Merkley (F) — Norse Stars Brandon Tanev (F) — Royals Derick Brassard (F) — Snipers Tyler Bozak (F) — Stallions Alex Iafallo (F) — Strong Island Derek Stepan (F) — Tornadoes Yegor Sharangovich (F) — West Coast Express Defenders (10) Haydn Fleury (D) — Blades of Steel Vince Dunn (D) — Brutes Scott Harrington (D) — Duckman’s Domination Jake Bean (D) — Gators Brendan Guhle (D) — Generals Filip Hronek (D) — Outlaws Charlie McAvoy (D) — Red Army Brent Burns (D) — Stingrays Philippe Myers (D) — Titans Christian Wolanin (D) — Warriors Goaltenders (4) Jonathan Quick (G) — Elite Assassins Jake Allen (G) — Godfathers Marc-Andre Fleury (G) — Rock Republic Mackenzie Blackwood (G) — Yetis

Depth Chart Forwards (17) Andreas Athanasiou-Paul Stastny-Kasperi Kapanen Derick Brassard-Derek Stepan-Tyler Bozak Alex Iafallo-Jared McCann-Colton Sissons Brandon Tanev-Andrew Cogliano-Cal Clutterbuck RESERVE: Alex Galchenyuk PROTECTED: Yegor Sharangovich, Nick Merkley, Kole Lind, Jonathan Dahlen Defenders (10) Charlie McAvoy-Brent Burns Vince Dunn-Filip Hronek Haydn Fleury-Philippe Myers RESERVE: Scott Harrington, Christian Wolanin PROTECTED: Brendan Guhle, Jake Bean Goaltenders (4) Marc-Andre Fleury RESERVE: Jonathan Quick PROTECTED: Jake Allen, Mackenzie Blackwood

Fisher’s Thoughts That forward group is nothing to write home about — lacking the big names and not overly impressive as a whole — but the defence is stacked and the goaltending is stellar. The expansion franchise would have a few months — from July 21 until approximately October 10 — to flip the excess goaltenders and to perhaps swap a couple defenders for forwards. If they play their cards right, the forwards should be upgraded for opening night of their inaugural season. A lot can and will change between now and the July 17 deadline for protected lists. The expansion franchise will have four-plus months — from March 1 until July 17 — to network with all the franchises and explore potential trade options. Vegas made trades with 10 of the 30 NHL franchises as part of their expansion draft, so the UFHL expansion franchise will want to make the most of that prep time. The expansion franchise can also hire an affiliated scout or form a scouting agency in the meantime and start signing some prospects for their UFAHL affiliate that will begin play in 2022-23 — the same season as Seattle’s AHL affiliate in Palm Springs, Calif. Vegas did that by making Reid Duke the first-ever Golden Knight on March 6 prior to their expansion draft on June 21. Not to mention all the branding aspects to keep them busy in deciding on a franchise name, logos, colour schemes and jersey designs, while also setting up social media accounts and all the rest. The UFHL expansion franchise will have plenty to do ahead of their big day on July 21 when they make their 31 selections in the expansion draft. It’ll be interesting to see how many, if any, are the same as this mock expansion draft. Exciting times ahead!

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