The only team that the other 30 teams in the NHL can deal with right now is the new expansion Las Vegas Knights.  Any trades or other agreements can only be made with the Knights thru Wednesday at 10 am.  During that period the Knights can choose one player from the roster of each other team in the league to form the roster of the team that begins play this fall.

Each other team in the league is allowed to put together a list of protected players; 7 forwards, 3 defensemen and a goaltender, or 8 skaters and a goaltender.  The Sabres went with the 7-3-1 format.  These are the players they protected:

  • Ryan O'Reilly (F)
  • Kyle Okposo (F)
  • Evander Kane (F)
  • Johan Larsson (F)
  • Marcus Foligno (F)
  • Tyler Ennis (F)
  • Zemgus Girgensons (F)
  • Rasmus Ristoleinan (D)
  • Jake McCabe (D)
  • Nathan Beaulieu (D)
  • Robin Lehner (G)

Players with two years of experience or less are automatically protected which is why players like Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart are not on the list.

So here are the Sabres players that Las Vegas can select from in the expansion draft:

  • William Carrier (F)
  • Nicolas Deslauriers (F)
  • Brian Gionta (F)
  • Derek Grant (F)
  • Justin Kea (F)
  • Matt Moulson (F)
  • Cal O'Reilly (F)
  • Cole Schneider (F)
  • Brady Austin (D)
  • Mathew Bodie (D)
  • Zach Bogosian (D)
  • Justin Falk (D)
  • Taylor Fedun (D)
  • Cody Franson (D)
  • Josh Gorges (D)
  • Dmitry Kulikov (D)
  • Anders Nilsson (G)
  • Linus Ulmark (G)

From among the available players that the Knights can choose from, either William Carrier or Linus Ulmark appear to be the most likely to leave the Sabres.  The Knights likely won't take players with big contracts like Zach Bogosian or Matt Moulson.  There's too many questions on whether Tyler Ennis can regain the form he had before a series of injuries.

Sabres general manager Jason Botterill could have an agreement in place to protect Ulmark in the expansion draft because he's projected to be the back-up to Robin Lehner with the Sabres.  So the speculation is that William Carrier is the likely player to be headed to a new team.

The results of the expansion draft will be revealed during the NHL Awards Show to be broadcast on NBC Sports Network Wednesday night beginning at 8 pm.

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