The Chicago Blackhawks’ expansion draft player protection list is pretty much already decided for them

NMCs have really taken over the Hawks’ protection list.

The 31st NHL franchise has a name - the Vegas Golden Knights - but they do not have a team. Not yet; that’ll come after this season, when Vegas gets to snatch up a player from every single team via the expansion draft.

So that means one of the Chicago Blackhawks will be packing his bags and heading to Vegas at the end of the season, and probably not for an award.

But of course, every team gets to protect some of its players: either seven forwards, three defensemen, and a goalie, or eight skaters and a goalie.

Under the rules of the draft, though, there are a number of players teams absolutely have to protect. For example, if you have a no-movement clause, you’re not going anywhere.

For the Blackhawks, that’s eight players already:

  • Jonathan Toews
  • Patrick Kane
  • Marian Hossa
  • Artem Anisimov
  • Brent Seabrook
  • Duncan Keith
  • Niklas Hjalmarsson
  • Corey Crawford/

They’ll still have the option to either protect one more defenseman or three more forwards, but for the most part, their protection list has been decided for them.

Not that that’s a bad thing, because it’s pretty difficult to see any of those players getting exposed, anyway.

CapFriendly has a pretty good tool you can play with to see who else the Blackhawks might have to protect! The obvious answer would be Artemi Panarin, except he’s automatically exempt, anyway; as far as the NHL is concerned, this is just his second professional season.

Who else would you protect?