The Devils today, along with the other 30 established NHL teams, made their list of protected players available for the upcoming expansion draft, where the Vegas Golden Knights will take one player from each team in trying to build up their roster.
The Devils protected forwards Taylor Hall, Adam Henrique, Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac. They protected defensemen Andy Greene, John Moore, Mirco Mueller and Damon Severson as well as goaltender Cory Schneider.
Vegas must choose one player from the Devils and those players available to them are: forwards Beau Bennett, Michael Cammalleri, Carter Camper, Luke Gazdic, Shane Harper, Jacob Josefson, Ivan Khomutov, Stefan Noesen, Marc Savard, Devante Smith-Pelly, Petr Straka, Mattias Tedenby, Ben Thomson and David Wohlberg. Devils defensemen available to the Golden Knights are: Seth Helgeson, Viktor Loov, Ben Lovejoy, Andrew MacWilliam, Jon Merrill, Dalton Prout, Karl Stollery and Alexander Urbom. Goalies left unprotected are Keith Kinkaid and Scott Wedgewood.
According to NHL.com, Vegas must choose 30 players (one from each team) and they must consist of a minimum of 14 forwards, nine d-men and three goalies. NHL.com says that they have until 10 AM on Wednesday (June 21) to submit their selections.
The criteria for who the Devils kept protected was that they could either keep seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie or eight total skaters and one goalie. The Devils obviously went with protecting eight skaters and a goalie. According to NHL.com, “all players with continuing and effective no-movement clauses had to be protected. All first- and second-year professionals are exempt from selection, as are unsigned draft choices.” (This would exempt players like Pavel Zacha and Mikey McLeod – making that decision easier for the Devils to deal with.)
The expansion draft takes place in conjunction with the NHL Awards on June 21 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. It airs on NBCSN at 8 PM.
Obviously, the team will take less of a hit in terms of losing players than in other expansion years when multiple teams joined the league. With only Vegas coming in, the team will only be losing one player for nothing in the expansion draft.