NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Wednesday the NHL awarded its’ 31st franchise to the city of Las Vegas and that addition could have a major affect on the Nashville Predators.
The team in Vegas is set to begin play in the 2017-18 season and before then they have to come up with a roster and the means and expansion draft.
Each team in the league has to submit its list of “protected” players by June 17, 2017. The rest of the players are eligible for the Vegas team add in the draft.
The NHL is giving teams two formats to protect their players.
- Seven forwards, three defensemen and a goalie
- Eight players (forwards/defenseman) and a goalie
That scenario makes it very difficult, but not impossible, for the Predators to protect their top four defensemen Shea Weber, Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis and Mattias Eckholm.
If they chose to protect them all, they could only protect four forwards leaving second line players available for the draft.
On the positive side, first and second year players and draft picks are exempt and do not have to be protected.
Another positive, the Preds will only lose one player as the Vegas team is set to take one from each of the 30 existing teams.
The Las Vegas team will turn in its selections June 20, 2017 and play in the NHL’s Pacific Division.