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The Buffalo Sabres 2021 expansion draft protection list

The Buffalo Sabres’ expansion draft protection list was released this morning by the NHL

Boston Bruins v Buffalo Sabres Photo by Sara Schmidle/NHLI via Getty Images

The NHL released the expansion protection lists for all 30 teams earlier this morning. The Buffalo Sabres list didn’t have a lot of surprises on it. It went pretty much as we all predicted after Jeff Skinner waived his no-move clause earlier in the week.

Forwards

Protected: Jack Eichel, Sam Reinhart, Victor Olofsson, Casey Mittelstadt, Tage Thompson, Rasmus Asplund, and Anders Bjork

Kevyn Adams and his staff went with the 7-3-1 protection model, as expected. With both Eichel and Reinhart still on the roster, this is the group of seven most of us had down. There was an outside shot that Zemgus Girgensons would make the list, but he was one of the players left exposed for the Kraken.

Exposed: Zemgus Girgensons, Jeff Skinner, Kyle Okposo, CJ Smith, Andrew Oglevie, Riley Sheahan, Cody Eakin, and Tobias Rieder

Of the players that the Sabres left exposed, Zemgus Girgensons and Jeff Skinner would be the two that would most likely be select by the Kraken. There’s no chance that Seattle is taking Skinner without some kind of payment for the Sabres. Therefore, Girgensons is the only one here that logically makes sense to be picked.

Defense

Protected: Rasmus Ristolainen, Rasmus Dahlin, and Henri Jokiharju

Once again, there are no surprises here. The only real debate was Will Borgen vs Rasmus Ristolainen. The Sabres opted to keep the veteran defender and protect his trade value.

Exposed: Will Borgen, Matt Irwin, Colin Miller, Brandon Davidson, and Jake McCabe

The Kraken could opt to select Borgen. He’s 25-years-old and will be a cheap contract for them moving forward that could play a bottom-pair defensive role. However, when you look at other protected lists around the league, Borgen doesn’t make sense as one of the picks on the blue line. There are a handful of better options around the league for the Kraken to pick from.

Colin Miller is another player that the Kraken could look at. He has one year remaining on his contract with a $3.875 million cap hit. There’s an outside shot of Jake McCabe as a free agent signing selection. The 72-hour exclusive window is now open for the Kraken to negotiate with potential UFA and RFA’s that were left exposed.

Goaltender

Protected: Linus Ullmark

This was the easiest pick of the group. The Sabres had no other options. The only goaltender under contract next season is Dustin Tokarski and the Sabres were required to leave him exposed.

Exposed: Dustin Tokarski, Carter Hutton, and Michael Houser

We’ll find out on Wednesday night who the Kraken select of the Sabres roster is and if the two sides worked out any side deal to have a certain player picked.