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Here are the 66 veteran NHLers that have to be protected at expansion draft

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The NHL has released a memo to all 30 teams outlining which 66 veteran NHLers are currently exempt from the expansion process — meaning they have to be protected — because of their no-movement clauses.

And Sportsnet has the memo.

Per Chris Johnston, the list was finalized late Tuesday evening after the league reviewed “the parameters of each individual contract” with the NHL Players’ Association.

The league was unable to institute a “blanket rule” to all NMCs, because those clauses are entirely negotiable and can be worded in whatever way the club or player — or, agent — sees fit.

You can read about some of the more surprising developments (Rick Nash has to be protected, Bobby Ryan doesn’t) here.

As for the list of players, here you go. Chicago leads the way with eight veterans requiring protection while Calgary, San Jose, St. Louis and Washington don’t have any.

Anaheim: Kevin Bieksa, Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler, Corey Perry

Arizona: Alex Goligoski

Boston: David Backes, Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, David Krejci

Buffalo: Kyle Okposo

Carolina: Jordan Staal

Columbus: Sergei Bobrovsky, David Clarkson, Brandon Dubinsky, Nick Foligno, Scott Hartnell

Chicago: Artem Anisimov, Corey Crawford, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Jonathan Toews

Colorado: Francois Beauchemin, Erik Johnson

Dallas: Jamie Benn, Jason Spezza

Detroit: Frans Nielsen

Edmonton: Milan Lucic, Andrej Sekera, Cam Talbot

Florida: Keith Yandle

Los Angeles: Anze Kopitar

Minnesota: Mikko Koivu, Zach Parise, Jason Pominville, Ryan Suter

Montreal: Jeff Petry, Carey Price

Nashville: Pekka Rinne

New Jersey: Ryane Clowe

N.Y. Islanders: Johnny Boychuk, Andrew Ladd, John Tavares

N.Y. Rangers: Dan Girardi, Henrik Lundqvist, Rick Nash, Marc Staal

Ottawa: Dion Phaneuf

Philadelphia: Claude Giroux

Pittsburgh: Sidney Crosby, Marc-Andre Fleury, Phil Kessel, Kris Letang, Evgeni Malkin

Tampa Bay: Ryan Callahan, Valtteri Filppula, Victor Hedman, Steven Stamkos

Toronto: Nathan Horton

Vancouver: Loui Eriksson, Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin

Winnipeg: Dustin Byfuglien, Toby Enstrom

As established earlier this year, teams have two options for players they wish to protect in the Expansion Draft:

a) Seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender

b) Eight skaters (forwards/defensemen) and one goaltender

Also, all first- and second-year professionals, as well as all unsigned draft choices, will be exempt from selection (and will not be counted toward their club’s applicable protection limits).

What is Alex Galchenyuk’s future in Montreal?

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Alex Galchenyuk is already a good player.

The question for the Montreal Canadiens is, can he be great?

Galchenyuk, the third overall draft pick in 2012, is coming off a decent regular season with 17 goals and 27 assists in 61 games. However, it wasn’t as good as last year’s 30-goal campaign, and he didn’t score a single goal in the playoffs.

“Hopefully he took a step back this year so he can take two forward next year,” GM Marc Bergevin said Monday at the Canadiens’ season-ending press conference.

Three assists were all Galchenyuk could manage in six games against the Rangers. More importantly, after more than 300 NHL games of experience, the 23-year-old is still not an everyday center, on a team where center depth is by far the biggest concern.

Habs defenseman Shea Weber thinks Galchenyuk still has a ton of potential.

“I think we’ve seen glimpses of it,” Weber said, per NHL.com’s Arpon Basu, “but I don’t think he’s tapped into how good he can be. One day he’s going to realize it, like all young guys do, he’s going to get it.”

Of course, not all young guys do get it. And at times, there have been questions about Galchenyuk’s competitiveness.

To play center in the NHL, you have to compete all over the ice.

“Ideally, we would love to have him play center,” head coach Claude Julien said. “But I think he realizes the same thing we realize right now. As a centerman, it’s one of the toughest jobs there is because you have to be all over the ice, and you’ve got to be able to skate. As a centerman, you have to be good at both ends of the ice, and you have to be responsible. Right now, he’s not at that stage.”

The kicker in all this is that Galchenyuk can become a restricted free agent this summer. He’s already signed one bridge deal, and he’s at the age now where many young stars sign for big money and a long term.

So, does he want to sign long term in Montreal?

He ducked the question today.

“My season just ended a couple of days ago,” Galchenyuk told reporters. “I honestly didn’t give it too much of a thought yet.”

Kunitz cleared for contact, available for start of Caps series

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The Pens may get back one of their most veteran skaters for their second-round series against Washington.

Chris Kunitz, who missed the last five regular season games and all of Pittsburgh’s Round 1 win over Columbus, has been cleared for contact (per the Tribune-Review) and could return from his lower-body ailment for Thursday’s opener at Verizon.

Kunitz, 37, finished the year with nine goals and 29 points in 71 games, averaging 15:31 TOI per night. It was a down season offensively, but the Pens are hopeful he can reclaim some of the form shown last spring, when he racked up 12 points in 24 games en route to the title.

A three-time Cup winner, Kunitz skated on the fourth line at today’s practice with Matt Cullen and Tom Kuhnackl.

In other health news, the Pens also declared d-man Chad Ruhwedel a game-time decision for Thursday, after he was sidelined with an upper-body injury. Carl Hagelin, out with a lower-body ailment, has continued skating and head coach Mike Sullivan said the team is hopeful Hagelin can play at some point against Washington.

DeBoer praises ‘courageous’ Thornton for playing with torn ACL, MCL (Updated)

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In a fairly stunning admission on Monday, Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer told reporters that Joe Thornton played in four of San Jose’s six playoff games versus Edmonton with a significant knee injury.

Thornton, who was hurt against Vancouver late in the regular season, suffered tears to both his left MCL and ACL.

“I’ve never seen a guy play with a torn MCL and ACL,” DeBoer said, per the club’s Twitter account. “It’s a courageous effort as I’ve ever seen.”

Thornton, 37, missed the first two games of the series to rest his knee, before suiting up for the final four. He averaged 18:50 TOI per night and finished with a pair of assists, numbers that are pretty remarkable given the severity of his ailment.

Jumbo wasn’t the only unhealthy Shark during the first-round playoff ouster. Logan Couture‘s face/mouth injury was well-documented and, today, DeBoer also revealed that Tomas Hertl was playing with a broken foot, and Patrick Marleau with a broken thumb.

Looking ahead, Thornton’s knee injury might cloud what’s an already murky future. He’s a pending UFA, and there have been no clear signals from the organization on how they’ll address his potential return. ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reported in January the Thornton camp was looking for a three-year deal.

If there’s a silver lining here, it’s that Sharks GM Doug Wilson has time on his side. It’s understood the club probably wouldn’t act on an extension for Thornton until after the June expansion draft, which could give the Sharks enough time to better gauge his health.

Update:

Per NBC Sports California, Wilson confirmed Thornton is undergoing surgery today to repair the ligaments.

 

 

Online bookmaker: Caps are Stanley Cup favorites

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The Washington Capitals got a bit of a scare in the first round, but they’ll go into the second round as the Stanley Cup favorites.

Per online bookmaker Bovada, here is the full list of Stanley Cup odds for the eight remaining teams:

Washington Capitals   7/2
Pittsburgh Penguins    17/4
Anaheim Ducks             11/2
Edmonton Oilers          11/2
St. Louis Blues              13/2
Nashville Predators     7/1
New York Rangers       8/1
Ottawa Senators           10/1

The Chicago Blackhawks entered the postseason as 4/1 Cup favorites at Bovada. Of course, the ‘Hawks were then swept by the Preds, who’ve gone from 25/1 long shots to 7/1 heading into their series with the Blues.

The Caps’ odds actually dropped to 13/2 after they fell behind the Toronto Maple Leafs, 2-1. But three straight wins, two in overtime, clinched them a spot against the Penguins in the second round.

The Ottawa Senators are the long shots of the bunch now, despite having home-ice advantage over the Rangers in the second round.