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The 2021 NHL expansion draft: What to know about the Blackhawks and Seattle

Here’s how it will impact the Blackhawks and the rest of the NHL.

NHL: Colorado Avalanche at Chicago Blackhawks David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The Blackhawks and 29 other NHL teams will go through another expansion draft in 2021.

The NHL Board of Governors unanimously voted Tuesday to approve the expansion application from the NHL Seattle group to bring the yet-to-be-named team to the league for the 32nd franchise at the start of the 2021-22 season.

With the approval of Seattle comes the need to build its team through an expansion draft like the Vegas Golden Knights did in 2017. The Golden Knights, however, are exempt from the 2021 expansion draft.

Expansion draft rules

The upcoming expansion draft will follow the same regulations as in 2017.

Protection list rules

  • Each team can protect up to seven forwards, three defensemen, and one goaltender, or nine players regardless of position.
  • All players with no-movement clauses must be protected unless they’ve agreed to waive.
  • Any player with two or fewer years of NHL/AHL experience is exempt.
  • Teams must expose players who meet certain criteria. There must be at least one defensemen and two forwards who are under contract for 2021-22 and played at least 40 NHL games in 2020-21 or 70 NHL games total since the start of 2019-20. Teams must also expose a goaltender who is either under contract for the 2021-22 season or about to enter restricted free agency.

Seattle selection rules

  • Seattle must select one player from each franchise except Vegas.
  • The final roster must include at least 14 forwards, nine defensemen, and three goaltenders.
  • At least 20 of the 30 players selected have to be under contract for the 2021-22 season.

Is there an expansion draft schedule?

There currently is not a schedule. It’s two years away, but it can be pieced together. In 2017, the league work backwards from the NHL Awards Show. Here’s how that could work in 2021:

June 19, 5 p.m. ET — Deadline for submission of protection lists by 30 teams

June 20, 10 a.m. ET — Protection lists released to the public

June 20-23 — Roster freeze for all non-Vegas trades and signings

June 23, 10 a.m. ET — Vegas submits expansion draft player selections

June 23, 8 p.m. ET — NHL Awards Show, including announcement of Seattle picks

Who will the Blackhawks protect from Seattle?

Chicago had eight players automatically protected solely based on no-movement clauses in 2017. But in 2021, that number is only four — for now. Forward Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews and defensemen Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook all hold NMCs. Defenseman Connor Murphy is the only other player currently set to be under contract for the 2021-22 season, but would need to be protected.

Based on the two or fewer years of experience requirement, defenseman Henri Jokiharju would need to be protected. If fellow blue liners Adam Boqvist and Ian Mitchell make their debuts after the 2018-19 season, they’ll be exempt on the two or fewer years of experience rule.

How does Chicago’s protection list stack up to the rest of the NHL?

Again, this is super early but only the Penguins and Stars match the Blackhawks with four players based on NMCs.