Awhile back, my wife joked that I should somewhat randomly not write a Daily Cup of Joe article on a non-holiday about once every month or so. Because of my US Mail consistency, she is concerned that if I ever did just skip one, that she would spend the entirety of her morning answering her phone and reassuring them that I was okay and that nothing was wrong. In a devious kind of way, she also thinks that random inconsistency that saw daily readers disappointed might make more people appreciate me and buy Canes and Coffee cups in bunches to make sure there daily Canes fix is always there.
An odd sequence of technical glitches nearly saw me test my wife’s theories today, but the hockey gods looked dow at the last second and pushed that bridge to another day.
After a long day and then writing a recap/notes article from NC State’s 6-5 win over Carolina Hockey on Monday night, I settled in later than usual at about 12:30am to write a daily post. About 30 minutes later, the lights in our house flickered, flickered again and then went off. Shortly thereafter, I heard a kaboom of in the distance that suggests a transformer or some other big electrical thing blew. So I quickly moved everything over to Word and then continued typing away figuring the power would hopefully be back right when I finished. No such luck. Then with bleary eyes, I tried to set up an internet hot spot with my phone but am oddly having trouble with that too.
But magically, just as I was finishing up in Word, the lights flickered again and popped back on, so still on schedule, here is Wednesday’s Daily Cup of Joe
The 2017 NHL Expansion Draft
The 2017 NHL Expansion Draft and the rules around it made for a fascinating full year build up, a week with rumored deals and actual deals and then another round of wheeling and dealing afterward.
The focal point of it all was the set of rules that were very generous to the Vegas Golden Knights in terms of what teams could protect. With a team still in the process of rebuilding and gaining depth and nice timing with a number of good young players who were exempt because they did not meet the experience threshold, the Hurricanes had a relatively easy time in terms of keeping the key parts of the roster intact.
Potentially losing solid veteran depth forward Lee Stempniak and needing to re-sign Klas Dahlbeck to protect Justin Faulk were the extent of the Canes expansion draft hardship. That pales in comparison to deeper teams who faced losing a top 4 defenseman, top 6 forward or good young player.
A potential 2020 NHL Expansion Draft
But with the second round of expansion seemingly now on the tracks for a Seattle team that would rebalance the two conferences for the 2020-21 season, another round of the expansion draft is on the way. And this time the Hurricanes could be one of the teams faced with challenging decisions to make in terms of acting based on the impending expansion draft to minimize the costs related to it.
Nothing is certain obviously especially since adding another team is not even a done deal, but league commissioner Gary Bettman did this weekend suggest that the expansion draft would be similar.
Without much for new Carolina Hurricanes hockey news during the All-Star break, today’s Daily Cup of Joe will take an early look at a potential 2020 expansion draft assuming the same rules as in 2017.
The goalie position is difficult to read but maybe the least likely position to be a problem. The 2017 expansion draft allowed teams to protect only one goalie. That is really all the Hurricanes needed, if that.
If one considers the current state of the Hurricanes to be the same when the next expansion draft arrives, it would be a non-issue. First, though things could well change dramatically, as of right now it would make sense to just expose Scott Darling, take a mulligan on his acquisition and start anew if the expansion team wanted to take a chance on a rebound. Further, depending on the next deal, the other goalie might or might not need to be protected by then.
I guess the downside scenario would be if Scott Darling rebounds (very possible) and one or both of Callum Booth or Alex Nedeljkovic grow to become a prospect worth stealing for an expansion team.
The starkest difference between the two expansion drafts from a Hurricanes standpoint will be the blue line. Because of the NHL experience exemption, the Hurricanes did not have to protect any of Jaccob Slavin, Brett Pesce, Noah Hanifin or Haydn Fleury.
If one fast forwards to the next expansion draft, none of those players would be exempt. The result is that the Hurricanes would have to select only three defensemen who could be protected. If you assume the current rosters is still intact, that means that the Hurricanes would need to leave three pretty good young defensemen exposed. One positive is that the current version of the expansion draft rules limited a team’s loss to a single player. So with too many good young players to shield everyone, it is possible that the Hurricanes just bite the face up to reality and part ways with a good young defenseman.
The decision would be a tough one, but at least as of right now, for me that would mean protecting Jaccob Slavin, Brett Pesce and Noah Hanifin and then losing either Justin Faulk or Haydn Fleury. Needless to say, that would be hard to swallow but also a sign that the Hurricanes are a much deeper team than they were in June of 2017.
The forward situation is a bit murkier and seemingly not nearly as dire as the blue line quandary.
Considering only the current roster, the protect list would be pretty similar. Sebastian Aho who was exempt in 2017 would need to be protected the next time around. But depending on whether you consider Justin Williams a long-term roster slot or not, the math equation does not look too daunting. Considering the current roster, the Hurricanes would likely protect a core of Jordan Staal, Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen, Jeff Skinner, Elias Lindholm and Victor Rask. That would still leave one more player to be protected for a veteran like Justin Williams if he was still around or possibly another young player who rises up between now and then.
The upshot is that the Hurricanes seem destined to lose a good young defenseman in 2020 if the expansion progresses on the expected schedule and the same protection/draft rules are used.
Other things to consider
Another thing to consider is the Hurricanes growing organizational depth. If the same rules are used, any player who is playing professionally either in the AHL or NHL for the 2017-18 season would need to be protected or otherwise exposed in the draft. If the volume of young players who started in the AHL in 2017-18 makes progress, the Hurricanes could also be at risk of losing a good prospect.
Perhaps one of the more interesting side notes based on the expected time line is that the Hurricanes decision to return Martin Necas to the Czech Republic will make him exempt. Had he instead played in the AHL, he would be a three-year professional player by the time 2020 came around and would also need to be protected or exposed.
What say you Canes fans?
1) Give that the Hurricanes could have too many good defensemen to protect, who would you protect? Who do you think the team would ultimately lose if no side deal is completed?
2) Still a full two seasons away from the next expected expansion draft, would you consider it in your roster building if you were Ron Francis? Or is it too early to even think about it?