The Bruins must submit their expansion protection list on Saturday.

Dennis Wierzbicki/USA TODAY Sports

Who the Bruins are expected to protect from the Vegas expansion draft

Ty Anderson
June 17, 2017 - 3:11 am

The expansion process has to begin before it finally ends, and that first step will come on Saturday, as the Bruins will submit their protection list to the NHL and Vegas Golden Knights. 

The process is pretty straight forward, really. The Bruins have to protect either eight skaters and a goalie or seven forwards, three defenders, and a goalie.

First and second-year talents are exempt from the draft, which for the Bruins means players like Brandon Carlo and Frank Vatrano do not need to be protected.

The Bruins also must expose one defenseman and two forwards who are under contract in 2017-18 and played in 40 or more NHL games the prior season or played in 70 or more NHL games in the prior two seasons, along with one goaltender who is under contract in 2017-18 or will be a restricted free agent at the expiration of his current contract immediately prior to 2017-18.

So, with all that in mind, here are the players the Bruins are expected to protect when the list is submitted and made public. 

Forwards

David Backes: One of four Bruins players with a no-movement clause, Backes is protected because of that. But the Bruins, who admitted that they wanted more production out of No. 42 but were more than satisfied with what he brought to their locker room, were never going to ask him to waive for Vegas.

Patrice Bergeron: Bergeron has a no-movement clause, but it would also be a waste of time for me to tell you why he’s worth protecting if you’re the Bruins. Dude’s gonna be a Bruin for the rest of his life.

David Krejci: Another no-movement clause protected talent, the Bruins did not ask Krejci to consider waiving his NMC for the Golden Knights, which makes sense, as it would be stupid to lose this player for nothing. Under contract for another four years at $7.25 million per season, the Bruins will instead focus on trying to find another capable wing to skate with Krejci, particularly on his left side.

Brad Marchand: The 5-foot-9 Marchand is one of just eight NHL players to have scored at least 100 goals over the last three NHL seasons, and Marchand has played the third-fewest games among those eight skaters (only Patrick Kane and Sidney Crosby have done it in fewer games). Marchand also begins an eight-year, team-friendly $6.125 million per season contract next season.

Riley Nash: Maybe not the name you expected to see this time last year, but Nash is an incredibly affordable bottom-six piece and with the ability to play both center and the wing, there’s no sense in the Bruins leaving him exposed for the Golden Knights. Nash had seven goals and 17 points in 81 regular-season games for the Bruins, but was an integral part of the B’s league-best penalty-killing corps. He’s also your expected replacement for Dominic Moore should he leave via free agency come July.

David Pastrnak: Boston’s next hockey superstar, the 21-year-old Pastrnak is the youngest protected Bruins skater on this list. It’s an obvious pick, too, as he is not going anywhere. Not after he proved his worth with a 34-goal, 70-point campaign for the Bruins in 2016-17. Now comes time for a new contract.

Ryan Spooner: In an expansion draft expected to be short on offensive centers, the Bruins know better than to leave Spooner exposed. Protecting him might not mean much in this scenario, to be honest, as it’s still believed that Spooner’s days in Boston are coming to a close. He is an arbitration-eligible restricted free agent, was a (somewhat) healthy scratch in two straight elimination playoff games, and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson is expected to be in the fold for a full-time NHL spot next season. Spooner is merely a better protection option over expensive roleplayers like Matt Beleskey or Jimmy Hayes.

Defensemen

Zdeno Chara: The lone B’s defenseman with a no-movement clause, the Bruins are not letting their captain walk for nothing. Not when his contract drops to a more-than-friendly $4 million next season. If anything, the Bruins may look to extend the 40-year-old Chara’s contract come July.

Torey Krug: A career-best 51-point getter last season, Krug remains the Black and Gold’s premier puckmover, and has steadily improved his efforts to become a legitimate top-four defenseman.

Kevan Miller: In what was really a year-long tryout between Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller, and Colin Miller, I really think it was a strong postseason showing from Kevan Miller that’s earned him the right as the club’s third and final protected defenseman. The B’s second-best defenseman in the postseason, Miller logged hard shifts, was instrumental on the penalty kill throughout the season, and his ability to play both the left and right side without a noticeable dip in his game is a must for a growing Boston defense.

Goalie

Tuukka Rask: You don’t give a franchise goalie away for free.

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