Las Vegas Expansion: 14 Players Waiving Goodbye?

When the 30 existing NHL franchises submit their protected and unprotected lists for the Las Vegas expansion draft, there could be more than a few players with no-movement clauses (NMCs) made available to the 31st franchise.

When choosing their players to protect, NHL teams are allowed to ask those with NMCs to waive their contractual constraints. This may be done to rid the organization of a bad contract or simply to dangle a pricey decent player in order to save someone else.

But for a player with a NMC to become expansion-eligible, he must agree to waive his NMC. If he chooses not to, then his team is still required to protect him.

Now a quarter of the way through the 2016-17 season, here are 14 players who may be asked to waive their NMCs at season’s end.

D Kevin Bieksa – Anaheim Ducks

Expansion Draft candidate Kevin Bieksa of the Anaheim Ducks.
Kevin Bieksa (Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports)

With 25-and-under blueliners Hampus Lindholm, Cam Fowler, Sami Vatanen, and Josh Manson all playing well, the Ducks should ask the veteran Kevin Bieksa to waive his NMC. Las Vegas would likely take another player, opting to pass over the 35-year-old defenseman and his $4 million cap hit.

Likelihood of NMC waive: 95%

Likelihood of selection if available: 15%

RW Marian Hossa – Chicago Blackhawks

After just scoring his 500th goal and reaching the 1,100-point plateau, the Blackhawks may consider asking Marian Hossa to waive his NMC. Chicago already has Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Artem Anisimov protected due to their clauses and could opt to make the veteran available. Instead, the Blackhawks could protect youngsters Mark McNeill, Ryan Hartman, Marcus Kruger, and Richard Panik over Hossa, 37.

Likelihood of NMC waive: 35%

Likelihood of selection if available: 60%

D Brent Seabrook – Chicago Blackhawks

Brent Seabrook of the Chicago Blackhawks
Brent Seabrook (Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)

Citing the same reason as Hossa, Chicago could make Brent Seabrook available at the Las Vegas expansion draft. If Seabrook complies, the Blackhawks could protect a young defenseman along with veterans Duncan Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson, plus open up almost $7 million in cap space through the 2023-24 season.

Likelihood of NMC waive: 10%

Likelihood of selection if available: 95%

D Francois Beauchemin – Colorado Avalanche

Now 36, Francois Beauchemin may be asked to waive his NMC in order to protect Tyson Barrie and one of either Nikita Zadorov or Eric Gelinas (Erik Johnson would be the other defenseman protected). Through 18 games this season, Beauchemin only has four assists to his name.

Likelihood of NMC waive: 85%

Likelihood of selection if available: 20%

RW David Clarkson – Columbus Blue Jackets

Currently on long-term injured reserve (LTIR), David Clarkson could further complicate an already-difficult Blue Jackets protection strategy. If Clarkson becomes healthy at any point this season, Columbus will have to protect him unless they can convince the veteran winger to waive his NMC. With their plethora of young, expansion-eligible forwards, the Blue Jackets are likely hoping Clarkson will comply with their request if need be.

Likelihood of NMC waive: 95% (if healthy)

Likelihood of selection if available: 1%

C Brandon Dubinsky & LW Scott Hartnell – Columbus Blue Jackets

Brandon Dubinsky (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)
Brandon Dubinsky (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen may need to ask his two veteran forwards to waive their NMCs in order to protect two more young forwards. Brandon Saad, Cam Atkinson, Boone Jenner, and Alexander Wennberg represent Columbus’ future. Nick Foligno and his NMC are safe. But what about Matt Calvert, William Karlsson, Josh Anderson, Daniel Zaar, and Alex Broadhurst?

Likelihood of NMC waive: 20% (Dubinsky) & 70% (Hartnell)

Likelihood of selection if available: 55% & 10%

D Andrej Sekera – Edmonton Oilers

It’s safe to say that the Edmonton Oilers overpaid for Andrej Sekera’s services. The defenseman is owed $5.5 million through the 2020-21 season and only has 35 points through his first 101 Oilers games. Edmonton will want to protect Oscar Klefbom, Adam Larsson, and another young defenseman as they progress in their rebuild.

Likelihood of NMC waive: 75%

Likelihood of selection if available: 5%

RW Jason Pominville – Minnesota Wild

Jason Pominville
Jason Pominville (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

With Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise each with NMCs already, the Wild might want to consider asking Jason Pominville to waive his clause ahead of the expansion draft. Minnesota has a deep forward group, which includes Eric Staal, Charlie Coyle, Mikael Granlund, Nino Niederreiter, Jason Zucker, and Eric Haula. Additionally, the Wild may end up protecting eight skaters total with a deep blue line as well.

Likelihood of NMC waive: 80%

Likelihood of selection if available: 25%

D Jeff Petry – Montreal Canadiens

If Jeff Petry agrees to waive his NMC, the Canadiens could protect Shea Weber, Nathan Beaulieu, and a young defenseman for the Las Vegas expansion draft. Petry has nine points in 18 games for the first-place Canadiens, but could become expendable to save a prospect like Dalton Thrower. Montreal could also save $5.5 million in cap space over the next four seasons if Petry is selected by Las Vegas.

Likelihood of NMC waive: 25%

Likelihood of selection if available: 50%

D Dion Phaneuf – Ottawa Senators

Dion Phaneuf of the Ottawa Senators.
Dion Phaneuf (Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports)

Already 31 years old and signed to a $7 million-per-year contract through the 2020-21 season, Dion Phaneuf could end up waiving his NMC ahead of the expansion draft. Ottawa would want to protect Erik Karlsson and Cody Ceci as two of its three “off-limits” defensemen. If Phaneuf plays ball, the Senators could protect a prospect instead of their veteran defender.

Likelihood of NMC waive: 90%

Likelihood of selection if available: 1%

G Marc-Andre Fleury – Pittsburgh Penguins

In all likelihood, the Penguins will try to deal Marc-Andre Fleury before the expansion draft rather than ask him to waive his NMC for the draft. If Fleury refuses a trade or to waive his NMC, then 2016 Stanley Cup winner Matt Murray will surely be picked by Las Vegas.

Likelihood of NMC waive: 99%

Likelihood of selection if available: 90%

RW Ryan Callahan & C Valtteri Filppula – Tampa Bay Lightning

Ryan Callahan of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Ryan Callahan (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

GM Steve Yzerman has a talented forward group, but will be losing some depth in the expansion draft. To lessen the blow, Yzerman could ask Callahan and/or Filppula to waive their NMCs. With Steven Stamkos and his NMC safe, Yzerman could also keep Nikita Kucherov, Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat, Jonathan Drouin, Vladislav Namestnikov, and Alex Killorn if Callahan and Filppula waive their no-movement clauses.

Likelihood of NMC waive: 50% (Callahan) & 45% (Filppula)

Likelihood of selection if available: 30% & 25%