Panthers Release List of Protected Players for Draft

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The Florida Panthers released a list of nine players who will be protected in the NHL’s upcoming Expansion Draft on Sunday.

The Panthers will have Jonathan Huberdeau, Aleksander Barkov, Vincent Trocheck, Nick Bjugstad, Aaron Ekblad, Keith Yandle, Alex Petrovic, Mark Pysyk and Roberto Luongo protected in the draft.

The draft which will take place on June 21st, will be used to complete the roster of the Vegas Golden Knights. Every team will lose one player in the draft and there could be a noticeable change in Florida.

Contrary to popular opinion, the Panthers left Jonathan Marchessault exposed for the draft. Marchessault had a breakout season in 2016-17 with 30 goals and was considered a player to watch going into next year. It would be surprising if Vegas passes on the opportunity to scoop Marchessault up. In addition to the 30 goals, Marchessault had 21 assists. That kind of puck movement and teamwork, will undoubtedly be attractive to the new club.

If Vegas decides to select a different Florida player, there are multiple options available. The Panthers left Jason Demers, Reilly Smith, James Reimer and Derek MacKenzie out there among others. Reimer could be an interesting asset for the young club, with a relatively friendly contract and a bright future.

Until the Golden Knights make their selections, rosters around the league will be locked. Florida and Vegas can discuss arrangements in the meantime, in terms of selecting certain players. Following the draft, the Golden Knights will be permitted to trade players that were selected. A player can not be traded back to his old club however. Due to this rule, arrangements between Vegas and other clubs is considered likely.

Vegas’ selections will be submitted to the league on the morning of June 21st, before being revealed to the world at 8:00 p.m. on NBCSN.

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