Tampa Bay Lightning expansion draft protection list: Who should be shielded?

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Who didn’t make the list and why

  • JT Brown – Brownov, honorary Russian; affectionately called Rock Hands; despite being endeared to fans, it’s no secret Brown is a career fourth-liner; he’s great, and scrappy, but doesn’t have great hands and is more useful as a grinder than a well-rounded skill player.
  • Cedric Paquette – Hot Pocket; take everything we just said about Brown and make it a little less expensive and a little more French-Canadian and you have fiery fellow fourth-liner Ceddy; it’s not to say he’s not great, but he’s not on the level of the seven forwards who made the list.
  • Braydon Coburn – aging, costly blue-liner prone to defensive regression and is a possession liability.
  • Jason Garrison – read: Braydon Coburn.
  • Andrej Sustr – the Giraffe; despite tightening up his game in the Lightning’s 2016-17 season, Sustr just isn’t on the same level as the three protected D-men; he has a team-friendly contract that Las Vegas might find attractive.
  • Luke Witkowski, Yanni Gourde, Joel Vermin, Gabriel Dumont, Peter Budaj – all UFAs that are free to either explore free agency or make a deal to stay with Tampa Bay after this whole expansion draft mess is over. Hopefully all five are interested in sticking around!

Next: Why trading Jonathan Drouin isn't the end of the world

We’ll find out this week who the Tampa Bay Lightning will protect and who the Golden Knights will snatch. Don’t forget the 2017-18 regular season will be announced the next day, June 22, followed by the NHL Entry Draft on Friday, June 23.