Canadiens leave Carey Price unprotected for Seattle expansion draft

Canadiens leave Carey Price unprotected for Seattle expansion draft

Captain Shea Weber, Jonathan Drouin and Paul Byron among other players also available to the Kraken in Wednesday night’s expansion draft.

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The Canadiens have submitted their protected list for the Seattle Kraken expansion draft to the NHL and Carey Price is not on it.

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General manager Marc Bergevin had the option of protecting seven forwards, three defencemen and one goalie or eight skaters (forwards or defencemen) and one goalie. He went with the first option and protected goalie Jake Allen instead of Price.

The NHL released the expansion draft protected lists on Sunday morning.

Price, 33, has five seasons remaining on his eight-year, US$84-million contract with an annual salary-cap hit of $10.5 million. Bergevin is hoping that the salary-cap hit will be too big for the Kraken’s liking and that he will be able to keep both of his goalies for next season. Price has an $11-million signing bonus due in September and his salary for next season will be $2 million.

Price had to waive the no-movement clause in his contract in order for the Canadiens to leave him unprotected. He only waived the no-movement clause for the expansion draft, meaning the Kraken can’t selected Price and then trade him to another team without the goalie’s consent.

The seven forwards Bergevin protected for Wednesday night’s expansion draft are:

Josh Anderson
Joel Armia
Jake Evans
Brendan Gallagher
Jesperi Kotkaniemi
Artturi Lehkonen
Tyler Toffoli

The three defencemen protected are:

Ben Chiarot
Joel Edmundson
Jeff Petry

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Bergevin decided not to protect captain Shea Weber. The 35-year-old defenceman has five seasons remaining on his 14-year, US$110-million contract with an annual salary-cap hit of $7.857 million. There were reports last week that Weber won’t be able to play next season — and possibly longer — because of thumb, knee, ankle and foot injuries he has been dealing with.

Also not protected is forward Jonathan Drouin, who left the Canadiens for personal reasons in April and was placed on the long-term injured reserve list. The 26-year-old forward has two seasons remaining on his six-year, US$33-million contract with an annual salary-cap hit of $5.5 million.

Assistant captain Paul Byron was also not protected. The 32-year-old forward has two seasons remaining on his four-year, US$13.6-million contract with an annual salary-cap hit of $3.4 million.

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Defenceman Brett Kulak was not protected. The 27-year-old has one season left on his three-year, US$5.5-million contract with a $1.85 million salary-cap hit.

Bergevin did protect Armia, who can become an unrestricted free agent. The GM didn’t protect Phillip Danault, who can also become an unrestricted free agent.

Price is from Anahim Lake, B.C., and has his offseason home in Kelowna, B.C., so if the Kraken did select him in the expansion draft he would be much closer to home. His wife, Angela, is from Kennewick, Wash., and her family still lives there. Kennewick is only 364 kilometres from Seattle.

If the Kraken takes Price it would free up $10.5 million in salary-cap space over the next five years for Bergevin. Unless Bergevin believes Cayden Primeau is ready for the NHL next season, the GM would then need to spend some of that money to find a goalie to share the workload next season with Allen. But Bergevin would still have a lot of money left over after finding another goalie to spend on other players.

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The expansion draft will be held at 8 p.m. Wednesday. The Vegas Golden Knights are exempt from the draft after joining the NHL as an expansion team for the 2017-18 season. The Kraken will select one player from each of the other 30 teams.

Complete list of unprotected Canadiens

Here’s the full list of Canadiens players and prospects available to Seattle in the expansion draft:

Forwards

Brandon Baddock

Joseph Blandisi

Paul Byron

Phillip Danault

Laurent Dauphin

Jonathan Drouin

Michael Frolik

Charles Hudon

Corey Perry

Michael Pezzetta

Eric Staal

Tomas Tatar

Lukas Vejdemo

Jordan Weal

Defencemen

Cale Fleury

Erik Gustafsson

Brett Kulak

Jon Merrill

Gustav Olofsson

Xavier Ouellet

Shea Weber

Goalies

Charlie Lindgren

Michael McNiven

Carey Price

scowan@postmedia.com

twitter.com/StuCowan1

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