When it comes to the pending Las Vegas expansion draft, many teams are likely to go with the 7-3-1 protection route (seven forwards, three defensemen, and one goalie) over protecting eight skaters plus a goaltender. One of the exceptions is the Nashville Predators, who have four blueliners that are pretty much ‘must-protect’ in P.K. Subban, Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis, and Mattias Ekholm.
That means that just four forwards could be protected and as ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun writes, it could play a role when it comes to pending unrestricted free agent center Mike Fisher. It seems likely that there is mutual interest in him sticking around beyond this season given his ties to the market but if they opt to extend him now, that will then result in one more quality forward being exposed to the Golden Knights. As things stand, it’s likely that all but one of forwards Viktor Arvidsson, Calle Jarnkrok, Colin Smith, and Colin Wilson will have to be left unprotected as it is.
As a result, LeBrun wonders if the two sides will wait until the draft passes before getting a new contract done. That way, the team can protect an extra forward while Fisher avoids the risk of being extended and then exposed (which would be a legitimate possibility given who they are already slated to leave unprotected). It’s a strategy that is likely to be used by many teams as they look to limit the amount of talent they have to leave available for Vegas to pick from.
Other news and notes from around the league:
- Jets defenseman Tyler Myers has taken a leave of absence from the team to attend to a family matter, notes Mike Sawatzky of the Winnipeg Free Press. There is no timetable for his return. Myers has already been out of the lineup since November 11th due to a lower body injury but has started skating as he works towards a return to game action.
- Tonight will mark a milestone for Colorado right winger Jarome Iginla. He will suit up in his 1,514th career game, tying him with Tampa GM and long-time Red Wings center Steve Yzerman for 15th overall in league history. Meanwhile, fellow winger Blake Comeau will also reach a milestone as he’ll suit up in his 600th NHL contest.
- Although Tampa Bay has struggled as of late, the team is not planning on making any changes to their coaching staff, reports Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times. On the trade front, Yzerman told Smith that he’d like to add to their current core but acknowledged he may have to deal from it to address certain team needs. While he didn’t specify what needs those might be, they’ve long been searching for an upgrade at defense and the team has several forwards that could be moved in order to secure some help on the back end.