The Blues will protect Ryan Reaves and expose Jori Lehtera, David Perron, and Carl Gunnarsson in the upcoming NHL expansion draft.
On Sunday morning, NHL teams announced their protected lists in advance of Wednesday’s expansion draft, during which the Vegas Golden Knights will select 30 players to stock their roster in advance of their first season as an active NHL team. The St. Louis Blues revealed their list of 11 protected players (seven forwards, three defensemen, and one goalie) on Sunday, and there weren’t any exceptional surprises among the group.
The Blues protected forwards Patrik Berglund, Jaden Schwartz, Vladimir Sobotka, Paul Stastny, Alexander Steen, Vladimir Tarasenko, and Ryan Reaves, who was the most notable inclusion among the group. They also protected defensemen Jay Bouwmeester, Joel Edmundson, and Alex Pietrangelo and goalie Jake Allen. Forwards Ivan Barbashev, Robby Fabbri, and Zach Sanford and defensemen Colton Parayko and Jordan Schmaltz, as well as a host of AHL prospects, were exempt from the draft since they all have two or fewer seasons of professional experience.
The players who saw NHL action last season and will be available for selection by Vegas include forwards Kenny Agostino, Kyle Brodziak, Dmitrij Jaskin, Jori Lehtera, Magnus Paajarvi, David Perron, Ty Rattie, Scottie Upshall, and Nail Yakupov, defensemen Robert Bortuzzo, Chris Butler, Carl Gunnarsson, and Petteri Lindbohm, and goalie Carter Hutton. Brodziak, Jaskin, Lehtera, Perron, Bortuzzo, Gunnarsson, and Hutton are the players among that group who are under contract for next season, so they’re the only players who would seem to have any chance at all at being selected.
More from Arch Authority
- St. Louis Cardinals: Randal Grichuk to begin Double-A rehab stint
- John Brebbia deserves a shot as the St. Louis Cardinals’ closer
- St. Louis Cardinals place Randal Grichuk on DL, recall José Martínez
- St. Louis Cardinals release RHP Corey Baker from organization
- St. Louis Cardinals activate Kolten Wong and Kevin Siegrist from DL, option Luke Weaver and Alex Mejia to Triple-A
Among that group, the most likely candidates for selection would be Lehtera, who has two years and $9.7 million left on his contract and could help Vegas reach the salary floor, Jaskin, who has great size, plays a strong two-way game, and has shown above-average scoring potential at times, and Gunnarsson, who is an affordable defenseman capable of playing top-four minutes.
The Blues almost certainly would prefer to lose Lehtera, as that would create room at the center position for Barbashev and Sanford and would also open up quite a bit of salary cap space. They’d probably also be alright with losing Gunnarsson, as they’ve got a surplus of young defensemen and are at the point where they need to start giving NHL opportunities to guys like Schmaltz, Lindbohm, and Vince Dunn.
The results of the expansion draft will be announced during Wednesday night’s NHL Awards.