Preds release NHL Expansion Draft Protected List

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UPDATE: More players have been added to the exposed list as of 11:20AM CST.

After pushing the release of the lists back by thirty minutes, the NHL officially allowed us commoners to see who teams protected… and who they did not. By no surprise, the great debate between James Neal and Calle Jarnkrok has left the Real Deal exposed along with a few others that were expected.

Exposed Players:

  • James Neal
  • Matt Irwin
  • Colton Sissons
  • Craig Smith
  • Colin Wilson
  • Cody McLeod
  • Yannick Weber
  • Marek Mazanec
  • Pontus Aberg
  • Cody Bass
  • Vernon Fiddler (UFA)
  • Mike Fisher (UFA)
  • P.A. Parenteau (UFA)
  • Adam Payerl
  • Mike Ribeiro
  • Miikka Salomaki
  • Trevor Smith
  • Austin Watson
  • Harry Zolnierczyk
  • Taylor Aronson
  • Anthony Bitetto
  • Stefan Elliott
  • Brad Hunt
  • Andew O’Brien
  • Adam Pardy
  • Petter Granberg
  • Jaynen Rissling
  • Scott Valentine

Protected Players:

  • Viktor Arvidsson
  • Filip Forsberg
  • Calle Jarnkrok
  • Ryan Johansen
  • Mattias Ekholm
  • Ryan Ellis
  • Roman Josi
  • P.K. Subban
  • Pekka Rinne

If you are freaking out about Neal (or anyone else) being exposed, as I mentioned in my previous post, that doesn’t automatically mean he’s headed to Vegas. Now that the exposed players have been released, teams can negotiate trades between the Golden Knights to attempt to protect these particular players. However, David Poile will more than likely have an uphill battle when it comes to negotiating with Las Vegas General Manager George McPhee (see Erat/Latta for Forsberg trade).

Wondering about Nashville’s other players? Here’s the list of the Predators’ exempt players from the Expansion Draft:

  • Kevin Fiala
  • Frederick Gaudreau
  • Vladislav Kamenev
  • Juuse Saros

UPDATE: It has now been acknowledged that Pontus Aberg, Mike Fisher, P.A. Parenteau, Vernon Fiddler, and Petter Granberg are not exempt from the expansion draft. It is important to note that Fisher, Fiddler, and Parenteau are all free agents, which means Vegas could go ahead and sign these players (the rest of the league has to wait until July 1st). However, if Vegas were to sign one of Nashville’s free agents, that would count as their expansion draft pick leaving the rest of the exposed players (like Neal, Watson, and Aberg) to stay with Nashville.

To see who the other teams in the league protected and exposed, here is the list from the NHL. So, what are your thoughts? Do you think GMDP can manage to work out a deal to save Neal? Whatever the case, there is no denying that George McPhee has the best seat in the house for this expansion draft and is soaking up every second of it.

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Preds hand Avs Second Loss; Win 6-4

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After a tough victory in Hollywood, it was off to the Mile High City to take on the 12-1-0 Colorado Avalanche last night. If you were to go by records alone (and were a betting man), you would’ve undoubtedly placed your money on the Avalanche, for Nashville stood at just 7-5-2 coming into last night’s game. But, hockey tends to fly a little differently than other sports and, even with the best record in the league, you could still meet them on a off-night. Is that what the Predators did or are they finally getting a feel for the ice? Was it the altitude? I’d say, it was mixture of the Predators easing together and the Avs having a bad night, simply because Nashville made some horrendous, rookie-esk moves that should have cost them the game. Likewise, they also made some outstanding plays that helped propel them to the 6-4 win over the Avalanche. Very Predator-like, I’d say. Here are the highlights from last night’s game:

First Period:

  • Viktor Stalberg collected his first goal in gold white at 13:12 with a wrister past Semyon Varlamov. Colin Wilson notched his fifth assist and Mattias Ekholm collected his fourth of the season. Now that he’s finally had his first goal taste, we guesstimate Stalberg will have many more to come.
  • P.A. Parenteau wouldn’t wait long to tie the game, sending a wrister of his own past Carter Hutton at 15:23.
  • Nashville would end the first period on a high as Craig Smith jumped the lead to 2-1 at 19:04, his fourth goal of the season. Colin Wilson picked up his second assist of the night (6th overall) and Ryan Ellis picked up his 2nd assist overall. A few minutes after Parenteau’s goal, Jamie McGinn sent Seth Jones roughly into the boards, causing Gabriel Bourque to wail on him (understandably). Though not deemed a major, McGinn was given a double minor of Charging and Roughing. Craig Smith would capitalize on the powerplay opportunity.
  • Nashville would out-shoot Colorado 10 to 2 in the first period.

Second Period:

  • Ryan O’Reilly (y’all remember Cal, right?) would start the second period in favor of Colorado, tying the game at 2.
  • Paul Gaustad would essentially “Dikembe Mutombo” with a tip-in (3rd goal) assisted by Filip Forsberg (4th assist). It was, essentially, Forsberg’s goal as he shot it directly at the net and probably would’ve gone in (we won’t say 100%) without the slight tough of Gaustad’s stick. No matter to us, a Predators goal is a good goal.

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  • Colin Wilson would collect his first goal of the night – third point of the night – at 6:47 for his second goal of the season. Ryan Ellis (3rd assist) and Roman Josi (first assist) would assist on the play.
  • Colorado would again pull within one with a wrister from Paul Stastny at 13:37 for his fifth goal of the season.
  • The second period would end with Nashville clinging to a 4-3 lead.
  • After the clock had winded down to end the second period, Erik Johnson was thrown a 10-minute misconduct for tossing his broken stick into the stands. Although it was deemed unintentional, as he was actually just tossing it behind him to get rid of it, shards did fly into the crowd. And, as the rulebook states, it’s 10 minutes of bench time.

There’s more to the rule, but you can see the jist of it above. Either way, Johnson’s accident gave Nashville the much needed upper-hand going into the third period.

Third Period:

  • Matt Duchene would tie the game early in third at 4:23 for his tenth goal of the season.
  • Colin Wilson would tally his second goal of the night shortly after at 7:34 with a backhander (3rd goal of the season). Viktor Stalberg would pick up his first assist and David Legwand would notch his 9th overall.

  • Gabriel Bourque would collect his first goal of the season with an empty-netter at 19:42 to seal the game in favor of the Predators. David Legwand collected his 10th assist on that one, too.

Defeating a team that has only lost once this season? Yea, I’d say that’s a huge momentum builder if I’ve ever seen one. At least, I hope so. Also, how about Nashville when it comes to powerplay goals? The Predators started out 0-7 but are now 11-45… that’s third in the entire NHL. Muy bueno, y’all. Also, Carter Hutton, though a little shaky here and there, improves to 4-1-1.

So, who’s next? Nashville flies North to Winnipeg – yes, they are playing Winnipeg again – to carry the momentum through that game on Friday.