We’ve got some more news to report here, folks! The protected lists for Wednesday’s Expansion Draft have been released, and we’ve got our answers as to what the Flyers are going to do at long last.
The Flyers’ protected players are as follows:
Forwards: Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Sean Couturier, Claude Giroux, Kevin Hayes, Travis Konecny, and Scott Laughton
Defensemen: Ryan Ellis, Ivan Provorov, and Travis Sanheim
Goaltender: Carter Hart
This means that the exposed skaters include James van Riemsdyk, Jake Voracek, Justin Braun, Shayne Gostisbehere, and Robert Hagg.
Are there any big surprises here? Not really. There may have been a bit of initial shock seeing Aube-Kubel on the protected list, but it’s a move that does make sense. A real emphasis for the Flyers this offseason, understandably, seems to be freeing up some cap space to have the flexibility to make some more moves, and this gives them the best chance of doing that. The Kraken no longer have the option of picking up Aube-Kubel because he’s cheap and has potential, but would have to pick up a player like van Riemsdyk, Voracek, or Gostisbehere who carry a higher cap hit. Granted, they could still go for Braun and add some good and lower cost depth, but this ensures that the Flyers have the greatest chance of seeing some money come off the books on Expansion Draft Day.
The Expansion Draft, of course, will take place on Wednesday July 21 at 8:00 ET, and we’ll see how Seattle decides to play this then.