The Columbus Blue Jackets did not ask veteran forward Scott Hartnell to waive his No-Movement Clause before the NHL’s deadline today, reports the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline. NHL teams had until 5pm EST today to ask players to waive any NMCs before the expansion draft. Because teams must use a protection slot to protect any player with an NMC, some teams may ask players to waive the clause to free up a protection slot.
The non-waiver is significant because Columbus is one of the few teams who may lose a significant piece in the expansion draft. Portzline believes that the non-move implies Columbus has either agreed to a deal with the Vegas Golden Knights, or that Columbus will buy out Hartnell’s contract.
Right now Columbus has three forward slots tied up in Brandon Dubinsky, Nick Foligno, and Hartnell. Assuming Columbus protects 7F / 3d / 1G (because of Seth Jones, Ryan Murray, and David Savard), the team only has four spots for Brandon Saad, Cam Atkinson, Boone Jenner, Matt Calvert, William Karlsson, Alexander Wennberg, and Josh Anderson. The consensus is that absent any sort of deal, Josh Anderson represents the best bet to go to Vegas. However, if Columbus and Vegas have a deal worked out, the Blue Jackets may be able to either keep Anderson, or receive some assets for him.
The other option is that Columbus buys out Hartnell, making the veteran a free agent. Buying him out would give Columbus an extra protection slot to use on one of its young forwards. According to Portzline, buying out Hartnell would save Columbus $2.5MM over two seasons, and open up $3.25MM in cap space next year. Hartnell scored 13G and 24A in 78 games this year.