While far from a lot of minds, it’s a good time to start thinking about who the Flyers could lose.
The Seattle expansion draft won’t happen until 2021 so the Flyers have a while before they need to worry about it.
But with the current season in limbo, decisions may start to be made soon. Moves made during this offseason will likely have effects on who teams will protect next summer.
The rules are the same as they were before. Teams can protect 11 players (seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie). They also have the option to protect eight skaters and one goaltender.
Other rules are much more detailed and can be found here.
The Flyers will have even tougher options this season than before. And they are bound to lose a more valuable forward then they did to the Vegas Golden Knights.
What we know for certain is that Claude Giroux and Kevin Hayes have to be protected due to their no-movement clause. We also know that players such as Joel Farabee and Morgan Frost are unavailable to Seattle.
Assuming the Flyers choose to use the same format they did the last draft, they have five more forwards to choose from.
We can assume they will protect Sean Couturier and Travis Konecny. That leaves three more forwards. This is where things will get difficult. With the current health of Oskar Lindblom and Nolan Patrick, it is unknown if they will play next season.
If the two are unavailable, the Flyers could ask the league to make them exempt from the draft for medical reasons. If the two return, however, there is a chance they could end up taking two of the protected spots. That would all depend on how they play if/when they return.
The decision could get easier if those two are unavailable. The discussion, no matter what though, would likely be on players such as Jakub Voracek, James van Riemsdyk, and Scott Laughton. There is a good chance one of them would be exposed. It would all depend on the health of the two above.
The Flyers could risk leaving Voracek unprotected and see if Seattle bites at his contract. Especially if they end up with both Patrick and Lindblom back, something all are hoping happens in the future. Seeing how the team looks without someone like Laughton out of the lineup, it’s hard to think they would so willingly leave him unprotected.
The Flyers do have some free agents to take care of, including Patrick and Lindblom. Another player of note is Nicolas Aube-Kubel. While he had what was close to a breakout with the team, he wouldn’t be a player the Flyers protect. So he could be an intriguing option for Seattle, as long as he is re-signed.
The forward group most certainly features the hardest decisions the team will make. A lot of it could have to do with how some of the forwards on the bubble perform next season. A big season could help a case of being protected over being left off the list. And the same for someone who underperforms as well.
The decision gets much easier down the lineup. Ivan Provorov, Travis Sanheim, and Phil Myers are likely the defensemen who will be protected. And unless the Flyers decide to trade Shayne Gostisbehere, he will almost certainly be left unprotected, barring a huge bounce-back season.
Carter Hart is the obvious goaltending choice to protect so there is no argument there.
The biggest thing to come from this expansion draft will be how far the Flyers have come in just a few years. Losing a more valuable player in this draft is proof of how competitive the team has become.