We're now only about a year away from the expansion draft and while many of Los Angeles' young prospects will be exempt from selection, the Kings will still have some decisions to make about who they want to protect. This article will give an early prediction on what the Kings' protection list will look like and who could end up being selected by Seattle.
Up front, we know that Anze Koptitar and Adrian Kempe will be protected. If Alex Iafallo re-signs, you can add him to the list too. Then there’s a whole lot of prospects/young players, most notably: Michael Amadio, Matt Luff, Blake Lizotte, Carl Grundstrom, Trevor Moore and Austin Wanger. Martin Frk may be older but there’s also a good chance we see him protected. Even though Dustin Brown and Jeff Carter each have a year left on their respective contracts, it’s probably unlikely that they’re protected. As for who’s protected amongst the forwards, I think a lot of it will depend on how next season goes. Right now though, the only forwards that I’d say I’m confident will be protected are Anze Kopitar, Adrian Kempe, Blake Lizotte and Alex Iafallo (if he re-signs).
On defense, Drew Doughty has a no-movement clause and is staying put. Then after that, there are three more defenders the Kings would want to protect, in Kale Clague, Matt Roy and Sean Walker. I think that like with the forward group, next season will have an impact on who gets protected. Based on their prospects up front, the Kings are likely to go with the 7-3-1 protection formation rather than the 4-4-1, meaning one of the defenders is likely to be exposed. I’d say as of now, Matt Roy is the odd man out but again, it’s still a year away and a lot can happen.
In goal, it’s a safe bet the Kings will be protecting Cal Petersen.
Here’s my prediction for the protection list:
Alex Iafallo (or Matt Luff, if Iafallo isn't re-signed)
The notable exceptions from the protection list would be: Dustin Brown, Jeff Carter, Matt Luff, Trevor Moore, Jonathan Quick, Matt Roy and Austin Wagner.
I think of these players, Seattle probably isn’t taking any of the forwards. Brown and Carter are both too old, while Luff, Moore and Wagner just don’t have as much upside as Quick or Roy.
At this point, I think there’s already a great chance that Seattle would take Quick but if needed, Los Angeles has the picks to pay to protect Roy, should they choose to do so. My reasoning as to why they’d select Quick is that the way the expansion draft is set up, teams can really only protect three or maximum four defensemen, so many other teams are already going to have quality defensemen exposed. There will, however, be very few starting goalies on the market who can carry the bulk of the load, even if it’s just for a couple of years.
So my prediction for who Seattle will select a year from now, whether it takes a pick added in or not, is Jonathan Quick.
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Here’s today’s poll question (results and discussion will be posted tomorrow):
Who do you think will be selected by Seattle in next year's expansion draft?