Report: It’s expected Lightning will protect Callahan from expansion draft

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Ryan Callahan‘s 2016-17 season was one to forget.

He played in only 18 games, scoring twice with four points before having yet another hip operation, while in the third year of a six-year, $34.8 million deal that includes a no-movement clause.

That no-movement clause means he must be protected in the upcoming Las Vegas expansion draft, unless he waives that ahead of time.

Teams must submit their protected lists by June 17, and, based on a report out of Tampa Bay on Thursday, it appears the Lightning will likely protect Callahan, although general manager Steve Yzerman didn’t confirm that.

From the Tampa Bay Times:

GM Steve Yzerman hasn’t disclosed his team’s protection plans, but said recently he’s got a good idea. “If I had to do it today, I could,” he said. In regards to plans for Callahan, Yzerman said that’s “not something I would discuss with you or anyone.”

It seems likely the team will go with a seven forward, three defensemen, one goalie protection plan. Captain Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, Callahan, Jonathan Drouin, Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat would appear to be givens to be among the seven. Center Vladislav Namestnikov could also warrant protection, if Tampa Bay decides to not protect (or trade) Alex Killorn, who has six years remaining (with a $4.45 million cap hit), and a no-trade clause that kicks in July 1.

As for those previous hip problems, the 32-year-old veteran forward offered reason for optimism toward the end of the Bolts’ season. He never returned to the lineup, but told the Tampa Bay Times, “I should have no lingering issues from this at all.”