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Expansion Draft Options of the Flames for the 2021-22 Season

Draft Options of the Flames for the 2021-22 Season

Although the NHL expansion draft is one year away and the official date is not yet announced, this exercise aims to show how draft rules work. It is also built to predict and project possible exposures and protections of the Calgary flames in the coming 2021-22 season.

No one can exactly tell how the roster of the Flames will look next year because things could dramatically change between now and then. And should the roster stay the same as it is now, the Flames may likely lose an impactful player. Even if this happens, the team will still be far better off than most teams in the league.

Basic Draft Rules

The NHL Expansion Draft in the summer of 2021 will follow similar rules like the NHL Expansion Draft in 2017.

  • Players having no-movement clauses (NMC) in their contracts must be protected if they don’t waive it.
  • Players having two or less years of professional experience will be exempted.
  • Teams are mandated to expose nothing less than two defensemen, one goaltender, and two forwards.

Projecting the Protected List of the Flames

As we head into the expansion draft, each team in the league has 2 options to choose from. They can decide to protect:

  1. 7 forwards, 3 defensemen, with one goalie.
  2. 8 skaters (defensemen or forwards) and one goalie.

In the Expansion draft of 2017, the Flames opted for the first option.

They protected Sam Benett, Mike Smith, Mikael Backlund, Michael Frolik, Michael Ferland, Curtis Lazar, Johnny Gaudreau, TJ. Brodie, Dougie Hamilton, Sean Monahan, and Mark Giordano.

In the upcoming NHL draft, if the flames decide to go with the first option, their potential list of protected players will look like this:


Johnny Gaudreau, Milan Lucic, Andrew Mangiapane, Elias Lindholm, Sean Monahan, Dillon Dube, and Mathew Tkachuk.

Forwards like Monahan, Gaudreau, Tkachuk, and Lindholm should obviously be protected. They form the elite group of the Flames and won’t be made available.

Lucic showed up on this list because of his NM clause. Assuming Lucic chooses to waive the clause, it’s unlikely any club will take him due to his cap hitting $5.25 million. This wouldn’t be up till the end of 2022-23 season.

Though both Mangiapane and Dube will be needing new contracts before the draft, as they’re restricted free agents – the odds are the Flames will give them extensions. To those who may find it surprising to see these two on the protected list, it’s important to note that both are promising young players.

To add to that, Mangiapane and Dube have shown huge upside and ought to continue to advance their game.


Noah Hanifin, Mark Giordano, and Rasmus Andersson.

Photo Credit: USA TODAY Sports / Bob DeChiara

One questionable name on this list would be Mark Giordano. The Calgary top defenseman has enjoyed a remarkable career with the Flames and is now the current captain of the team.

Last season, he had an incredible career year notching 74-points in a total of 78 games. As a result, he was awarded his first ever Norris Trophy. This season is a different story entirely as Giordano’s performance has been below par probably due to his advancing age. At 36-years old, many believed the club may not want to protect him.

But seeing as Giordano is averaging an impressive ice time of 23.53 this season, the Flames may surprise us all and protect him.

Hanifin and Andersson are two defencemen the Flames won’t let go of. 23-years old Hanifin may have had some high and low times with the team but he’s extremely talented and keeps getting better in every game. Coupled with his age and what the Flames gave up to acquire him in a trade, Hanifin may end up protected.

As for Andersson, his work ethic and drive shows in all his games thanks to his outstanding performance. Recently, he signed a six years extension with the Flames.

Presently, the Flames have 5 defencemen on their roster – Travis Harmonica, Derek Forbort, T.J. Brodie, Michael Stone, and Erik Gustafsson are about to become free agents at the end of 2020.

The club will likely lose at least one of these players but there’s a high possibility it’ll not change those we believe will be on the protected list. Moreover, should any of these players be accepted back into the team, he may find himself among the exposed.


David Rittich

Fan favorite David Rittich

Photo Credit: Getty Images / Brett Holmes

This 2019-20 has been an interesting one for Rittich – a fan favorite goaltender. He started on a high note this season which earned him his first invite to the NHL All-Star game in 2020.

But after that, Big Save Dave has been struggling and is sitting on a disappointing 2.91 GAA (goals-against average) and a .907 SV% (save percentage).

Despite not ranking high on the NHL goalie list, 27- year old Rittich’s performance could still be considered solid in the past few seasons.

Though backup goalie Cam Talbot made better numbers this 2019-20 with a GAA of 2.63 and SV% of .919. The fact that he’s 32 years old makes protecting Rittich who is younger a logical move.