As BSN first reported in April, the Avalanche indeed went ahead with the decision to protect goaltender Semyon Varlamov for the upcoming NHL Expansion Draft. The incoming Las Vegas Golden Knights will not be able to select the Russian goalie, nor any of the other 10 Avs players on the protected list, which was released Sunday morning.
It is thus now possible the Avs could lose young goalie Calvin Pickard to the Golden Knights, who will pick their first team on Wednesday. Under rules of the expansion draft, the Avs and every other NHL team must lose one eligible player from their roster, unless a side deal is made with Las Vegas.
The Golden Knights must choose at least 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goalies in the Expansion draft. With the recent buyout of defenseman Francois Beauchemin, the Avs were able to protect three defensemen (Tyson Barrie, Erik Johnson and Nikita Zadorov) and seven forwards (Sven Andrighetto, Blake Comeau, Matt Duchene, Gabe Landeskog, Rocco Grimaldi, Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Nieto), along with Varlamov.
Left unprotected and available to Las Vegas include veterans with contracts for next year, such as Carl Soderberg, Mark Barberio and Pickard.
The protection of Grimaldi over players such as Soderberg and Mikhail Grigorenko might be seen as a surprise by some, as he has little NHL experience. But he showed well with the Avs as a late-season call-up, and Soderberg's poor play last season and big contract ($4.75 million cap hit for three more seasons) convinced general manager Joe Sakic and the rest of team management to leave him exposed.
Here is the official protected list:
Sven Andrighetto (F) Blake Comeau (F) Matt Duchene (F) Rocco Grimaldi (F) Gabriel Landeskog (F) Nathan MacKinnon (F) Matt Nieto (F) Tyson Barrie (D) Erik Johnson (D) Nikita Zadorov (D) Semyon Varlamov (G)
Here are the eligible players on the Avs' roster who will be available to Las Vegas in the Expansion Draft:
Troy Bourke (F) Gabriel Bourque (F) Rene Bourque (F) Joe Colborne (F) Turner Elson (F) Felix Girard (F) Mikhail Grigorenko (F) Samuel Henley (F) John Mitchell (F) Jim O'Brien (F) Brendan Ranford (F) Mike Sislo (F) Carl Soderberg (F) Mark Barberio (D) Mat Clark (D) Eric Gelinas (D) Cody Goloubef (D) Duncan Siemens (D) Fedor Tyutin (D) Patrick Wiercioch (D) Joe Cannata (G) Calvin Pickard (G) Jeremy Smith (G)