Note: This article is the solely the opinion of its writer and does not reflect the entire Devils Army Blog staff.
The NHL expansion draft is returning for the first time in 17 years, taking place on June 21, 2017 for the Las Vegas Golden Knights. They’re allowed to select one player from all 30 NHL teams. There are quite a few rules dictating who Vegas can and can’t take, such as rookies and sophomore players for example. Having said that, let’s stay focused on what the hometown New Jersey Devils will be doing in terms of protecting and exposing players. We’ll start by listing the (projected) protected players. This is if the Devils select the seven forwards, three defensemen, and one goaltender. I feel this is a better option for them instead of eight skaters and one goaltender, but Ray Shero will ultimately make the final call.
This is an obvious choice. The Devils are going to protect their co-leading point scorer from last season. He was also arguably their best player. He’s going to continue improving as time goes on, so this is a simple choice. Great acquisition by Mr. Shero who isn’t going anywhere.
The other leading point and goal-scorer from this season. He also made a case for being the best player. What a truly great trade that was by Shero. This protection is also a no-brainer and if you think he shouldn’t be on this team next season, well then join another fan base.
Another simple choice for Shero to protect. I understand many fans are in favor of trading him. So to support that, let’s not let Vegas take him for absolutely nothing. The Devils should keep the power so that they actually get some fair return. In reality however, the Devils shouldn’t trade him as he’s still young and has plenty of time to continue improving.
We’re still in the obvious selections here. Travis Zajac had one of his better seasons statistically. This is a great sign, considering he has four more years left on his current contract. There’s no reason to be letting him go just yet. He’s been so loyal and always works hard. Let him finish out that contract with the team who drafted him 13 years ago.
This selection is one that I feel needs to happen because he’s young and can still be a vital part to the organization. He didn’t see the ice a lot being on the bottom lines but that all can change next season if he can prove himself in training camp and the preseason. We’re also running out of forwards to protect, so, why not?
Trust me Devils fans! This guy has a lot of promise, so the Devils shouldn’t risk exposing him to Vegas. He played in 32 games, and was one of the hardest working guys on the ice. He’s another player who can also find himself coming off the fourth line and receive a bigger role. Give him a full season, more ice time, and he’ll produce a little (a lot) more than the eight points he provided.
This was not an easy choice. It was between him and Devante Smith-Pelly. DSP was simply not effective this season, only registering nine points in 53 contests. He spent those 29 other games split between being a healthy scratch and on the IR. He also posted a minus 19 so if he performs like this and doesn’t play, why try and protect him? Cammalleri on the other hand is 35-years old but is also a questionable choice. Let’s also keep in mind he has an extensive track record with injuries. On the contrary, we’ve seen what he can do when fully healthy. This selection should be his final chance to prove he still belongs in New Jersey.
Once again we’re back to the simple selections. He’s the captain and outright leader of this team. He hasn’t done anything wrong, so there’s really no reason to not ensure his return to the Devils for the 2017-18 season. Another career Devil, much like Zajac.
The 22-year-old has plenty of time to improve his game from what can be considered a bad season posting a minus 31. The bright side is that he posted 28 assists, which shows that Severson knows how to move the puck in right places. He belongs in a Devils uniform for many years to come.
The defenseman selections were really not that difficult. John Moore had himself a fine season when he wasn’t injured by that horrible concussion given to him by Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson. He’s young and could be a major key component moving forward. The 26-year-old put up 12 goals this season which is impressive for a defenseman that missed 19 games. He deserves a guaranteed roster spot going into next season.
Were you expecting someone else’s name? Other than last season, Cory Schneider has put up top-five (top-three but I digress) numbers every season, minus the record, which isn’t really his fault. He’s the Devils protected goalie. The end.
For the 18th pick in the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft… the Vegas Golden Knights select from the New Jersey Devils…
Yes fans, I’m sorry to say that after one short season, we could be saying goodbye to our defenseman. He played in all 82 games, which shows that he can stay healthy- a positive for Vegas. He only posted seven points, but that’s okay because he’s not an offensive defenseman and never has been. Vegas shouldn’t be looking to get a point-producer from the Devils, as those are primarily the players Shero will be protecting. His defensive stats are what they should be looking at, and they are impressive. See for yourself. We wish you luck in Vegas, Ben.
Be sure to keep an eye out for the release of the the protected lists on June 18 at 10 A.M., and the announcement of the Golden Knights roster on June 21 at 8 P.M. during the NHL Awards in Vegas.