The Kings did not include former team captain Dustin Brown and high-priced winger Marian Gaborik on the list of protected players they submitted in advance of Wednesday's NHL expansion draft, but that doesn't mean they will be free of the duo's expensive contracts.
The NHL on Sunday released the lists of players who had been protected or were left available by their respective teams for the draft that will stock the Vegas Golden Knights, the league's 31st franchise. Brown and Gaborik were among those available to be chosen by the Golden Knights, but Brown — who has five seasons left with a salary-cap hit of $5.875 million — and Gaborik — who has four more seasons at a cap hit of $4.875 million per season — likely are too expensive and too old for the Golden Knights. Brown is 32 and Gaborik is 35.
Here's a link to the full list of who's available and who's not.
The Ducks had little maneuvering room in composing their list because each of the 30 existing clubs was obligated to protect any player who had a no-move clause in his contract and the Ducks had given such clauses to Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Ryan Kesler and Kevin Bieksa. The Ducks left defensemen Sami Vatanen and Josh Manson available but it's possible that Ducks General Manager Bob Murray has worked out a deal with his Vegas counterpart, George McPhee, to give the Golden Knights players or draft picks in exchange for McPhee not choosing Manson, a rugged player whose skills are highly prized by the Ducks' organization.
Teams had two options in submitting their protected lists: either eight skaters (forwards and defensemen) and one goaltender, or seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie. First- and second-year pros were exempt from the draft and do not count toward each team's total of protected players. Each of the 30 existing teams will lose only one player in the expansion draft, which will be held on Wednesday in Las Vegas.
The Kings chose to protect eight skaters and one goaltender. They protected forwards Jeff Carter, Anze Kopitar, Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli, defensemen Drew Doughty, Derek Forbort, Alec Martinez and Jake Muzzin, and goalie Jonathan Quick. In addition to Brown and Gaborik, they left available defenseman Brayden McNabb and forwards Andy Andreoff, Trevor Lewis, Jordan Nolan, Kyle Clifford, Nic Dowd and Nick Shore, among others.
The Ducks protected seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie. Their protected list comprises forwards Andrew Cogliano, Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler, Corey Perry, Rickard Rakell, Jakob Silfverberg and Antoine Vermette; defensemen Kevin Bieksa, Cam Fowler and Hampus Lindholm; and goalie John Gibson.
The Golden Knights will select 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goalies, among them at least 20 players who are under contract for the 2017-18 season.