NHL reveals all 30 teams’ available, protected players for expansion draft

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That moment is finally upon us: the NHL released protected and available players lists for all 30 teams regarding the Vegas Golden Knights’ expansion draft on Sunday.

As you’ll see, teams generally chose two alignments:

1. Protecting four forwards, four defensemen, and one goalie.

– 0r –

2. Protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie.

The New York Islanders interestingly bucked the trend, protecting five defensemen.

While you dream up armchair GM (or armchair GM GM, in the case of George McPhee) scenarios, do note that the Golden Knights must meet these requirements as they select 30 players overall:

Also remember that McPhee can strike deals with teams to not pick certain exposed players, though such arrangement will come at a price. In addition to that note, it’s crucial to remember that younger players might not be exposed just because they weren’t protected, as some are exempt.

Got the basics? Good. The league lists the expansion draft rules here if you want to dive into the full details.

Excuse the big list, but here are all the players who are available and protected for each team.

ANAHEIM DUCKS

Available
Spencer Abbott (F)
Jared Boll (F)
Sam Carrick (F)
Patrick Eaves (F)
Emerson Etem (F)
Ryan Garbutt (F)
Max Gortz (F)
Nicolas Kerdiles (F)
Andre Petersson (F)
Logan Shaw (F)
Nick Sorensen (F)
Nate Thompson (F)
Corey Tropp (F)
Chris Wagner (F)
Nate Guenin (D)
Korbinian Holzer (D)
Josh Manson (D)
Jaycob Megna (D)
Jeff Schultz (D)
Clayton Stoner (D)
Sami Vatanen (D)
Jonathan Bernier (G)
Jhonas Enroth (G)
Ryan Faragher (G)
Matt Hackett (G)
Dustin Tokarski (G)

Protected
Andrew Cogliano (F)
Ryan Getzlaf (F)
Ryan Kesler (F)
Corey Perry (F)
Rickard Rakell (F)
Jakob Silfverberg (F)
Antoine Vermette (F)
Kevin Bieksa (D)
Cam Fowler (D)
Hampus Lindholm (D)
John Gibson (G)

ARIZONA COYOTES

Available
Alexander Burmistrov (F)
Shane Doan (F)
Tyler Gaudet (F)
Peter Holland (F)
Josh Jooris (F)
Jamie McGinn (F)
Jeremy Morin (F)
Mitchell Moroz (F)
Chris Mueller (F)
Teemu Pulkkinen (F)
Brad Richardson (F)
Garret Ross (F)
Branden Troock (F)
Radim Vrbata (F)
Joe Whitney (F)
Kevin Connauton (D)
Jamie McBain (D)
Zbynek Michalek (D)
Jarred Tinordi (D)
Louis Domingue (G)

Protected
Nick Cousins (F)
Anthony Duclair (F)
Jordan Martinook (F)
Tobias Rieder (F)
Oliver Ekman-Larsson (D)
Alex Goligoski (D)
Connor Murphy (D)
Luke Schenn (D)
Chad Johnson (G)

BOSTON BRUINS

Available
Matt Beleskey (F)
Brian Ferlin (F)
Jimmy Hayes (F)
Alex Khokhlachev (F)
Dominic Moore (F)
Tyler Randell (F)
Zac Rinaldo (F)
Tim Schaller (F)
Drew Stafford (F)
Linus Arnesson (D)
Chris Casto (D)
Tommy Cross (D)
Alex Grant (D)
John-Michael Liles (D)
Adam McQuaid (D)
Colin Miller (D)
Joe Morrow (D)
Anton Khudobin (G)
Malcolm Subban (G)

Protected
David Backes (F)
Patrice Bergeron (F)
David Krejci (F)
Brad Marchand (F)
Riley Nash (F)
David Pastrnak (F)
Ryan Spooner (F)
Zdeno Chara (D)
Torey Krug (D)
Kevan Miller (D)
Tuukka Rask (G)

BUFFALO SABRES

Available
William Carrier (F)
Nicolas Deslauriers (F)
Brian Gionta (F)
Derek Grant (F)
Justin Kea (F)
Matt Moulson (F)
Cal O’Reilly (F)
Cole Schneider (F)
Brady Austin (D)
Mathew Bodie (D)
Zach Bogosian (D)
Justin Falk (D)
Taylor Fedun (D)
Cody Franson (D)
Josh Gorges (D)
Dmitry Kulikov (D)
Anders Nilsson (G)
Linus Ullmark (G)

Protected
Tyler Ennis (F)
Marcus Foligno (F)
Zemgus Girgensons (F)
Evander Kane (F)
Johan Larsson (F)
Ryan O'Reilly (F)
Kyle Okposo (F)
Nathan Beaulieu (D)
Jake McCabe (D)
Rasmus Ristolainen (D)
Robin Lehner (G)

CALGARY FLAMES

Available
Brandon Bollig (F)
Lance Bouma (F)
Troy Brouwer (F)
Alex Chiasson (F)
Freddie Hamilton (F)
Emile Poirier (F)
Hunter Shinkaruk (F)
Matt Stajan (F)
Kris Versteeg (F)
Linden Vey (F)
Matt Bartkowski (D)
Ryan Culkin (D)
Deryk Engelland (D)
Michael Kostka (D)
Brett Kulak (D)
Ladislav Smid (D)
Michael Stone (D)
Dennis Wideman (D)
Tyler Wotherspoon (D)
Brian Elliott (G)
Tom McCollum (G)

Protected
Mikael Backlund (F)
Sam Bennett (F)
Micheal Ferland (F)
Michael Frolik (F)
Johnny Gaudreau (F)
Curtis Lazar (F)
Sean Monahan (F)
T.J. Brodie (D)
Mark Giordano (D)
Dougie Hamilton (D)
Mike Smith (G)

CAROLINA HURRICANES

Available
Bryan Bickell (F)
Connor Brickley (F)
Patrick Brown (F)
Erik Karlsson (F)
Danny Kristo (F)
Jay McClement (F)
Andrew Miller (F)
Andrej Nestrasil (F)
Joakim Nordstrom (F)
Lee Stempniak (F)
Brendan Woods (F)
Klas Dahlbeck (D)
Dennis Robertson (D)
Philip Samuelsson (D)
Matt Tennyson (D)
Daniel Altshuller (G)
Eddie Lack (G)
Michael Leighton (G)
Cam Ward (G)

Protected
Phillip Di Giuseppe (F)
Elias Lindholm (F)
Brock McGinn (F)
Victor Rask (F)
Jeff Skinner (F)
Jordan Staal (F)
Teuvo Teravainen (F)
Trevor Carrick (D)
Justin Faulk (D)
Ryan Murphy (D)
Scott Darling (G)

CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS

Available
Kyle Baun (F)
Andrew Desjardins (F)
Marcus Kruger (F)
Pierre-Cedric Labrie (F)
Michael Latta (F)
Brandon Mashinter (F)
Dennis Rasmussen (F)
Jordin Tootoo (F)
Brian Campbell (D)
Dillon Fournier (D)
Shawn Lalonde (D)
Johnny Oduya (D)
Ville Pokka (D)
Michal Rozsival (D)
Viktor Svedberg (D)
Trevor van Riemsdyk (D)
Mac Carruth (G)
Jeff Glass (G)

Protected
Artem Anisimov (F)
Ryan Hartman (F)
Marian Hossa (F)
Tomas Jurco (F)
Patrick Kane (F)
Richard Panik (F)
Jonathan Toews (F)
Niklas Hjalmarsson (D)
Duncan Keith (D)
Brent Seabrook (D)
Corey Crawford (G)

COLORADO AVALANCHE

Available
Troy Bourke (F)
Gabriel Bourque (F)
Rene Bourque (F)
Joe Colborne (F)
Turner Elson (F)
Felix Girard (F)
Mikhail Grigorenko (F)
Samuel Henley (F)
John Mitchell (F)
Jim O’Brien (F)
Brendan Ranford (F)
Mike Sislo (F)
Carl Soderberg (F)
Mark Barberio (D)
Mat Clark (D)
Eric Gelinas (D)
Cody Goloubef (D)
Duncan Siemens (D)
Fedor Tyutin (D)
Patrick Wiercioch (D)
Joe Cannata (G)
Calvin Pickard (G)
Jeremy Smith (G)

Protected
Sven Andrighetto (F)
Blake Comeau (F)
Matt Duchene (F)
Rocco Grimaldi (F)
Gabriel Landeskog (F)
Nathan MacKinnon (F)
Matt Nieto (F)
Tyson Barrie (D)
Erik Johnson (D)
Nikita Zadorov (D)
Semyon Varlamov (G)

COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS

Available
Josh Anderson (F)
Alex Broadhurst (F)
Matt Calvert (F)
Zac Dalpe (F)
Sam Gagner (F)
Brett Gallant (F)
William Karlsson (F)
Lauri Korpikoski (F)
Lukas Sedlak (F)
T.J. Tynan (F)
Daniel Zaar (F)
Marc-Andre Bergeron (D)
Scott Harrington (D)
Jack Johnson (D)
Kyle Quincey (D)
John Ramage (D)
Jaime Sifers (D)
Ryan Stanton (D)
Oscar Dansk (G)
Anton Forsberg (G)
Joonas Korpisalo (G)

Protected
Cam Atkinson (F)
Brandon Dubinsky (F)
Nick Foligno (F)
Scott Hartnell (F)
Boone Jenner (F)
Brandon Saad (F)
Alexander Wennberg (F)
Seth Jones (D)
Ryan Murray (D)
David Savard (D)
Sergei Bobrovsky (G)

DALLAS STARS

Available
Adam Cracknell (F)
Justin Dowling (F)
Cody Eakin (F)
Ales Hemsky (F)
Jiri Hudler (F)
Curtis McKenzie (F)
Mark McNeill (F)
Travis Morin (F)
Patrick Sharp (F)
Gemel Smith (F)
Matej Stransky (F)
Mattias Backman (D)
Andrew Bodnarchuk (D)
Ludwig Bystrom (D)
Nick Ebert (D)
Justin Hache (D)
Dan Hamhuis (D)
Patrik Nemeth (D)
Jamie Oleksiak (D)
Greg Pateryn (D)
Dustin Stevenson (D)
Henri Kiviaho (G)
Maxime Lagace (G)
Kari Lehtonen (G)
Antti Niemi (G)
Justin Peters (G)

Protected
Jamie Benn (F)
Radek Faksa (F)
Valeri Nichushkin (F)
Brett Ritchie (F)
Antoine Roussel (F)
Tyler Seguin (F)
Jason Spezza (F)
Stephen Johns (D)
John Klingberg (D)
Esa Lindell (D)
Ben Bishop (G)

DETROIT RED WINGS

Available
Louis-Marc Aubry (F)
Mitch Callahan (F)
Colin Campbell (F)
Martin Frk (F)
Luke Glendening (F)
Darren Helm (F)
Drew Miller (F)
Tomas Nosek (F)
Riley Sheahan (F)
Ben Street (F)
Eric Tangradi (F)
Adam Almquist (D)
Jonathan Ericsson (D)
Niklas Kronwall (D)
Brian Lashoff (D)
Dylan McIlrath (D)
Xavier Ouellet (D)
Ryan Sproul (D)
Jared Coreau (G)
Petr Mrazek (G)
Edward Pasquale (G)
Jake Paterson (G)

Protected
Justin Abdelkader (F)
Andreas Athanasiou (F)
Anthony Mantha (F)
Frans Nielsen (F)
Gustav Nyquist (F)
Tomas Tatar (F)
Henrik Zetterberg (F)
Danny DeKeyser (D)
Mike Green (D)
Nick Jensen (D)
Jimmy Howard (G)

EDMONTON OILERS

Available
David Desharnais (F)
Justin Fontaine (F)
Matt Hendricks (F)
Roman Horak (F)
Jujhar Khaira (F)
Anton Lander (F)
Iiro Pakarinen (F)
Tyler Pitlick (F)
Zach Pochiro (F)
Benoit Pouliot (F)
Henrik Samuelsson (F)
Bogdan Yakimov (F)
Mark Fayne (D)
Andrew Ference (D)
Mark Fraser (D)
Eric Gryba (D)
David Musil (D)
Jordan Oesterle (D)
Griffin Reinhart (D)
Kris Russell (D)
Dillon Simpson (D)
Laurent Brossoit (G)
Jonas Gustavsson (G)

Protected
Leon Draisaitl (F)
Jordan Eberle (F)
Zack Kassian (F)
Mark Letestu (F)
Milan Lucic (F)
Patrick Maroon (F)
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (F)
Oscar Klefbom (D)
Adam Larsson (D)
Andrej Sekera (D)
Cam Talbot (G)

FLORIDA PANTHERS

Available
Graham Black (F)
Tim Bozon (F)
Jaromir Jagr (F)
Jussi Jokinen (F)
Derek MacKenzie (F)
Jonathan Marchessault (F)
Colton Sceviour (F)
Michael Sgarbossa (F)
Reilly Smith (F)
Brody Sutter (F)
Paul Thompson (F)
Shawn Thornton (F)
Thomas Vanek (F)
Jason Demers (D)
Jakub Kindl (D)
Brent Regner (D)
Reece Scarlett (D)
MacKenzie Weegar (D)
Reto Berra (G)
Sam Brittain (G)
Roberto Luongo (G)

Protected
Aleksander Barkov (F)
Nick Bjugstad (F)
Jonathan Huberdeau (F)
Vincent Trocheck (F)
Aaron Ekblad (D)
Alex Petrovic (D)
Mark Pysyk (D)
Keith Yandle (D)
James Reimer (G)

LOS ANGELES KINGS

Available
Andy Andreoff (F)
Justin Auger (F)
Dustin Brown (F)
Kyle Clifford (F)
Andrew Crescenzi (F)
Nic Dowd (F)
Marian Gaborik (F)
Jarome Iginla (F)
Trevor Lewis (F)
Michael Mersch (F)
Jordan Nolan (F)
Teddy Purcell (F)
Devin Setoguchi (F)
Nick Shore (F)
Matt Greene (D)
Vincent Loverde (D)
Brayden McNabb (D)
Cameron Schilling (D)
Rob Scuderi (D)
Zach Trotman (D)
Jack Campbell (G)
Jeff Zatkoff (G)

Protected
Jeff Carter (F)
Anze Kopitar (F)
Tanner Pearson (F)
Tyler Toffoli (F)
Drew Doughty (D)
Derek Forbort (D)
Alec Martinez (D)
Jake Muzzin (D)
Jonathan Quick (G)

MINNESOTA WILD

Available
Brady Brassart (F)
Patrick Cannone (F)
Ryan Carter (F)
Kurtis Gabriel (F)
Martin Hanzal (F)
Erik Haula (F)
Zack Mitchell (F)
Jordan Schroeder (F)
Eric Staal (F)
Chris Stewart (F)
Ryan White (F)
Victor Bartley (D)
Matt Dumba (D)
Christian Folin (D)
Guillaume Gelinas (D)
Alexander Gudbranson (D)
Gustav Olofsson (D)
Nate Prosser (D)
Marco Scandella (D)
Mike Weber (D)
Johan Gustafsson (G)
Darcy Kuemper (G)
Alex Stalock (G)

Protected
Charlie Coyle (F)
Mikael Granlund (F)
Mikko Koivu (F)
Nino Niederreiter (F)
Zach Parise (F)
Jason Pominville (F)
Jason Zucker (F)
Jonas Brodin (D)
Jared Spurgeon (D)
Ryan Suter (D)
Devan Dubnyk (G)

MONTREAL CANADIENS

Available
Daniel Carr (F)
Connor Crisp (F)
Jacob De La Rose (F)
Bobby Farnham (F)
Brian Flynn (F)
Max Friberg (F)
Charles Hudon (F)
Dwight King (F)
Stefan Matteau (F)
Torrey Mitchell (F)
Joonas Nattinen (F)
Steve Ott (F)
Tomas Plekanec (F)
Alexander Radulov (F)
Chris Terry (F)
Brandon Davidson (D)
Alexei Emelin (D)
Keegan Lowe (D)
Andrei Markov (D)
Nikita Nesterov (D)
Zach Redmond (D)
Dalton Thrower (D)
Al Montoya (G)

Protected
Paul Byron (F)
Phillip Danault (F)
Jonathan Drouin (F)
Alex Galchenyuk (F)
Brendan Gallagher (F)
Max Pacioretty (F)
Andrew Shaw (F)
Jordie Benn (D)
Jeff Petry (D)
Shea Weber (D)
Carey Price (G)

NASHVILLE PREDATORS

Available
Pontus Aberg (F)
Cody Bass (F)
Vernon Fiddler (F)
Mike Fisher (F)
Cody McLeod (F)
James Neal (F)
PA Parenteau (F)
Adam Payerl (F)
Mike Ribeiro (F)
Miikka Salomaki (F)
Colton Sissons (F)
Craig Smith (F)
Trevor Smith (F)
Austin Watson (F)
Colin Wilson (F)
Harry Zolnierczyk (F)
Taylor Aronson (D)
Anthony Bitetto (D)
Stefan Elliott (D)
Petter Granberg (D)
Brad Hunt (D)
Matt Irwin (D)
Andrew O’Brien (D)
Adam Pardy (D)
Jaynen Rissling (D)
Scott Valentine (D)
Yannick Weber (D)
Marek Mazanec (G)

Protected
Viktor Arvidsson (F)
Filip Forsberg (F)
Calle Jarnkrok (F)
Ryan Johansen (F)
Mattias Ekholm (D)
Ryan Ellis (D)
Roman Josi (D)
P.K. Subban (D)
Pekka Rinne (G)

NEW JERSEY DEVILS

Available
Beau Bennett (F)
Michael Cammalleri (F)
Carter Camper (F)
Luke Gazdic (F)
Shane Harper (F)
Jacob Josefson (F)
Ivan Khomutov (F)
Stefan Noesen (F)
Marc Savard (F)
Devante Smith-Pelly (F)
Petr Straka (F)
Mattias Tedenby (F)
Ben Thomson (F)
David Wohlberg (F)
Seth Helgeson (D)
Viktor Loov (D)
Ben Lovejoy (D)
Andrew MacWilliam (D)
Jon Merrill (D)
Dalton Prout (D)
Karl Stollery (D)
Alexander Urbom (D)
Keith Kinkaid (G)
Scott Wedgewood (G)

Protected
Taylor Hall (F)
Adam Henrique (F)
Kyle Palmieri (F)
Travis Zajac (F)
Andy Greene (D)
John Moore (D)
Mirco Mueller (D)
Damon Severson (D)
Cory Schneider (G)

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

Available
Josh Bailey (F)
Steve Bernier (F)
Eric Boulton (F)
Jason Chimera (F)
Casey Cizikas (F)
Cal Clutterbuck (F)
Stephen Gionta (F)
Ben Holmstrom (F)
Bracken Kearns (F)
Nikolay Kulemin (F)
Brock Nelson (F)
Shane Prince (F)
Alan Quine (F)
Ryan Strome (F)
Johan Sundstrom (F)
Calvin de Haan (D)
Matthew Finn (D)
Jesse Graham (D)
Thomas Hickey (D)
Loic Leduc (D)
Scott Mayfield (D)
Dennis Seidenberg (D)
Jean-Francois Berube (G)
Christopher Gibson (G)
Jaroslav Halak (G)

Protected
Andrew Ladd (F)
Anders Lee (F)
John Tavares (F)
Johnny Boychuk (D)
Travis Hamonic (D)
Nick Leddy (D)
Adam Pelech (D)
Ryan Pulock (D)
Thomas Greiss (G)

NEW YORK RANGERS

Available
Taylor Beck (F)
Chris Brown (F)
Daniel Catenacci (F)
Jesper Fast (F)
Tanner Glass (F)
Michael Grabner (F)
Marek Hrivik (F)
Nicklas Jensen (F)
Carl Klingberg (F)
Oscar Lindberg (F)
Brandon Pirri (F)
Matt Puempel (F)
Adam Clendening (D)
Tommy Hughes (D)
Steven Kampfer (D)
Kevin Klein (D)
Michael Paliotta (D)
Brendan Smith (D)
Chris Summers (D)
Magnus Hellberg (G)
Antti Raanta (G)
Mackenzie Skapski (G)

Protected
Kevin Hayes (F)
Chris Kreider (F)
J.T. Miller (F)
Rick Nash (F)
Derek Stepan (F)
Mika Zibanejad (F)
Mats Zuccarello (F)
Nick Holden (D)
Ryan McDonagh (D)
Marc Staal (D)
Henrik Lundqvist (G)

OTTAWA SENATORS

Available
Casey Bailey (F)
Mike Blunden (F)
Alexandre Burrows (F)
Stephane Da Costa (F)
Christopher DiDomenico (F)
Nikita Filatov (F)
Chris Kelly (F)
Clarke MacArthur (F)
Max McCormick (F)
Chris Neil (F)
Tom Pyatt (F)
Ryan Rupert (F)
Bobby Ryan (F)
Viktor Stalberg (F)
Phil Varone (F)
Tommy Wingels (F)
Mark Borowiecki (D)
Fredrik Claesson (D)
Brandon Gormley (D)
Jyrki Jokipakka (D)
Marc Methot (D)
Patrick Sieloff (D)
Chris Wideman (D)
Mikael Wikstrand (D)
Mike Condon (G)
Chris Driedger (G)
Andrew Hammond (G)

Protected
Derick Brassard (F)
Ryan Dzingel (F)
Mike Hoffman (F)
Jean-Gabriel Pageau (F)
Zack Smith (F)
Mark Stone (F)
Kyle Turris (F)
Cody Ceci (D)
Erik Karlsson (D)
Dion Phaneuf (D)
Craig Anderson (G)

PHILADELPHIA FLYERS

Available
Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (F)
Greg Carey (F)
Chris Conner (F)
Boyd Gordon (F)
Taylor Leier (F)
Colin McDonald (F)
Andy Miele (F)
Michael Raffl (F)
Matt Read (F)
Chris VandeVelde (F)
Jordan Weal (F)
Dale Weise (F)
Eric Wellwood (F)
Mark Alt (D)
TJ Brennan (D)
Michael Del Zotto (D)
Andrew MacDonald (D)
Will O’Neill (D)
Jesper Pettersson (D)
Nick Schultz (D)
Steve Mason (G)
Michal Neuvirth (G)

Protected
Sean Couturier (F)
Valtteri Filppula (F)
Claude Giroux (F)
Scott Laughton (F)
Brayden Schenn (F)
Wayne Simmonds (F)
Jakub Voracek (F)
Shayne Gostisbehere (D)
Radko Gudas (D)
Brandon Manning (D)
Anthony Stolarz (G)

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS

Available
Josh Archibald (F)
Nick Bonino (F)
Matt Cullen (F)
Jean-Sebastien Dea (F)
Carl Hagelin (F)
Tom Kuhnhackl (F)
Chris Kunitz (F)
Kevin Porter (F)
Bryan Rust (F)
Tom Sestito (F)
Oskar Sundqvist (F)
Dominik Uher (F)
Garrett Wilson (F)
Scott Wilson (F)
Ian Cole (D)
Frank Corrado (D)
Trevor Daley (D)
Tim Erixon (D)
Cameron Gaunce (D)
Ron Hainsey (D)
Stuart Percy (D)
Derrick Pouliot (D)
Chad Ruhwedel (D)
Mark Streit (D)
David Warsofsky (D)
Marc-Andre Fleury (G)

Protected
Sidney Crosby (F)
Patric Hornqvist (F)
Phil Kessel (F)
Evgeni Malkin (F)
Brian Dumoulin (D)
Kris Letang (D)
Olli Maatta (D)
Justin Schultz (D)
Matt Murray (G)

SAN JOSE SHARKS

Available
Mikkel Boedker (F)
Barclay Goodrow (F)
Micheal Haley (F)
Patrick Marleau (F)
Buddy Robinson (F)
Zack Stortini (F)
Joe Thornton (F)
Joel Ward (F)
Dylan DeMelo (D)
Brenden Dillon (D)
Dan Kelly (D)
Paul Martin (D)
David Schlemko (D)
Aaron Dell (G)
Troy Grosenick (G)
Harri Sateri (G)

Protected
Ryan Carpenter (F)
Logan Couture (F)
Jannik Hansen (F)
Tomas Hertl (F)
Melker Karlsson (F)
Joe Pavelski (F)
Chris Tierney (F)
Justin Braun (D)
Brent Burns (D)
Marc-Edouard Vlasic (D)
Martin Jones (G)

ST. LOUIS BLUES

Available
Kenny Agostino (F)
Andrew Agozzino (F)
Kyle Brodziak (F)
Jordan Caron (F)
Jacob Doty (F)
Landon Ferraro (F)
Alex Friesen (F)
Evgeny Grachev (F)
Dmitrij Jaskin (F)
Jori Lehtera (F)
Brad Malone (F)
Magnus Paajarvi (F)
David Perron (F)
Ty Rattie (F)
Scottie Upshall (F)
Nail Yakupov (F)
Robert Bortuzzo (D)
Chris Butler (D)
Morgan Ellis (D)
Carl Gunnarsson (D)
Jani Hakanpaa (D)
Petteri Lindbohm (D)
Reid McNeill (D)
Jordan Binnington (G)
Carter Hutton (G)

Protected
Patrik Berglund (F)
Ryan Reaves (F)
Jaden Schwartz (F)
Vladimir Sobotka (F)
Paul Stastny (F)
Alexander Steen (F)
Vladimir Tarasenko (F)
Jay Bouwmeester (D)
Joel Edmundson (D)
Alex Pietrangelo (D)
Jake Allen (G)

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING

Available
Carter Ashton (F)
Michael Bournival (F)
J.T. Brown (F)
Cory Conacher (F)
Erik Condra (F)
Gabriel Dumont (F)
Stefan Fournier (F)
Byron Froese (F)
Yanni Gourde (F)
Mike Halmo (F)
Henri Ikonen (F)
Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond (F)
Tye McGinn (F)
Greg McKegg (F)
Cedric Paquette (F)
Tanner Richard (F)
Joel Vermin (F)
Dylan Blujus (D)
Jake Dotchin (D)
Jason Garrison (D)
Slater Koekkoek (D)
Jonathan Racine (D)
Andrej Sustr (D)
Matt Taormina (D)
Luke Witkowski (D)
Peter Budaj (G)
Kristers Gudlevskis (G)
Jaroslav Janus (G)
Mike McKenna (G)

Protected
Ryan Callahan (F)
Tyler Johnson (F)
Alex Killorn (F)
Nikita Kucherov (F)
Vladislav Namestnikov (F)
Ondrej Palat (F)
Steven Stamkos (F)
Braydon Coburn (D)
Victor Hedman (D)
Anton Stralman (D)
Andrei Vasilevskiy (G)

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS

Available
Brian Boyle (F)
Eric Fehr (F)
Colin Greening (F)
Seth Griffith (F)
Teemu Hartikainen (F)
Brooks Laich (F)
Brendan Leipsic (F)
Joffrey Lupul (F)
Milan Michalek (F)
Kerby Rychel (F)
Ben Smith (F)
Andrew Campbell (D)
Matt Hunwick (D)
Alexey Marchenko (D)
Martin Marincin (D)
Steve Oleksy (D)
Roman Polak (D)
Antoine Bibeau (G)
Curtis McElhinney (G)
Garret Sparks (G)

Protected
Tyler Bozak (F)
Connor Brown (F)
Nazem Kadri (F)
Leo Komarov (F)
Josh Leivo (F)
Matt Martin (F)
James van Riemsdyk (F)
Connor Carrick (D)
Jake Gardiner (D)
Morgan Rielly (D)
Frederik Andersen (G)

VANCOUVER CANUCKS

Available
Reid Boucher (F)
Michael Chaput (F)
Joseph Cramarossa (F)
Derek Dorsett (F)
Brendan Gaunce (F)
Alexandre Grenier (F)
Jayson Megna (F)
Borna Rendulic (F)
Anton Rodin (F)
Drew Shore (F)
Jack Skille (F)
Michael Zalewski (F)
Alex Biega (D)
Philip Larsen (D)
Tom Nilsson (D)
Andrey Pedan (D)
Luca Sbisa (D)
Richard Bachman (G)
Ryan Miller (G)

Protected
Sven Baertschi (F)
Loui Eriksson (F)
Markus Granlund (F)
Bo Horvat (F)
Daniel Sedin (F)
Henrik Sedin (F)
Brandon Sutter (F)
Alexander Edler (D)
Erik Gudbranson (D)
Christopher Tanev (D)
Jacob Markstrom (G)

WASHINGTON CAPITALS

Available
Jay Beagle (F)
Chris Bourque (F)
Paul Carey (F)
Brett Connolly (F)
Stanislav Galiev (F)
Tyler Graovac (F)
Garrett Mitchell (F)
Liam O’Brien (F)
T.J. Oshie (F)
Zach Sill (F)
Chandler Stephenson (F)
Christian Thomas (F)
Nathan Walker (F)
Justin Williams (F)
Daniel Winnik (F)
Karl Alzner (D)
Taylor Chorney (D)
Cody Corbett (D)
Darren Dietz (D)
Christian Djoos (D)
Tom Gilbert (D)
Aaron Ness (D)
Brooks Orpik (D)
Nate Schmidt (D)
Kevin Shattenkirk (D)
Pheonix Copley (G)
Philipp Grubauer (G)

Protected
Nicklas Backstrom (F)
Andre Burakovsky (F)
Lars Eller (F)
Marcus Johansson (F)
Evgeny Kuznetsov (F)
Alex Ovechkin (F)
Tom Wilson (F)
John Carlson (D)
Matt Niskanen (D)
Dmitry Orlov (D)
Braden Holtby (G)

WINNIPEG JETS

Available
Marko Dano (F)
Quinton Howden (F)
Scott Kosmachuk (F)
Tomas Kubalik (F)
JC Lipon (F)
Shawn Matthias (F)
Ryan Olsen (F)
Anthony Peluso (F)
Chris Thorburn (F)
Ben Chiarot (D)
Toby Enstrom (D)
Brenden Kichton (D)
Julian Melchiori (D)
Paul Postma (D)
Brian Strait (D)
Mark Stuart (D)
Michael Hutchinson (G)
Ondrej Pavelec (G)

Protected
Joel Armia (F)
Andrew Copp (F)
Bryan Little (F)
Adam Lowry (F)
Mathieu Perreault (F)
Mark Scheifele (F)
Blake Wheeler (F)
Dustin Byfuglien (D)
Tyler Myers (D)
Jacob Trouba (D)
Connor Hellebuyck (G)

Blues got to Stanley Cup Final thanks to bold moves, patience

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Leading up to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final (Monday, 8 p.m. ET, NBC), Pro Hockey Talk will be looking at every aspect of the matchup between the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues.

Broadly speaking, the Bruins and Blues have been built in remarkably similar ways, so it makes sense that Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy described the two as twins. Generally, the two show that you don’t need to bottom out for several years to find elite talent in the NHL … but you also need clever people to pull it off.

There are some differences, though, of course.

[Read all about how the Bruins were built]

For one thing, while the Bruins have seen some different executives come through, culminating with current GM Don Sweeney, the Blues’ current structure can be credited to GM Doug Armstrong, who’s been with the team since 2008 and served as GM since 2010. Now, sure, the Blues’ other staff members deserve plenty of credit, too, but the point is that Armstrong’s been a guiding force.

So, one one hand, the Blues are a testament to patience and savvy. Where other teams keep changing cooks and recipes, Armstrong’s been the one picking the ingredients for what feels like ages in the turbulent world of sports.

Yet, the Blues have gone from pushing a boulder uphill for years to make huge leaps thanks to some big changes. Let’s start with those, and then zoom out to the “Slow and steady” moves that provided a foundation for such jumps.

[NBC 2019 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

Bold moves

It’s well-documented, but impossible to ignore, that the Blues began 2019 in last place in the NHL, yet they find themselves in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final.

The Blues partially dug themselves out of that hole because they finally started to get the bounces that simply weren’t going their way, but they had to be good to be lucky, and that meant making some waves.

Most importantly, they fired head coach Mike Yeo and replaced him with Craig Berube. The parallels between Berube and Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy are interesting, as they both found ways to successfully inject some offense into defensive-minded teams, and also because both are enjoying immense success during their second opportunities as NHL head coaches.

And the difference has been pretty huge when it comes to the Blues under Berube vs. under Yeo. Whether you look at the Blues going from being slightly out-shot to being a dominant shot share team, go a little fancier with your stats, or just look at overall play, it’s clear that Berube has been a revelation.

Of course, a coach’s adjustments can be undone (or enhanced) by the play of their goalie, and that’s where the other big in-season change comes in.

Jordan Binnington has taken the reins from an overmatched Jake Allen, and the Blues have skyrocketed basically ever since he wrestled the starting job away from Allen. Going from absorbing gut-punching goals to having a netminder that keeps you in games – and sometimes steals them – has been huge for the Blues. About the only bit of bad news is that Binnington’s an RFA after this season, so they’ll have to figure out what to pay him, and maybe how to move on from Allen.

That’s a better problem to have than not trusting your goalie, though.

Big trades

While splashy summer moves didn’t pay off right away for the Blues (at least when it came to their win-loss record), they’ve served as another big reason why St. Louis took steps forward in 2018-19.

Most crucially, the Blues took advantage of the Sabres’ tough situation to trade for Ryan O'Reilly, who’s been a two-way star for St. Louis. The old age that “the team who gets the best player wins the trade” rings true here, as St. Louis sent a lot of parts to Buffalo to land O’Reilly, but ROR has been worth far more than anything that went out in this deal.

The ROR trade came a year after the Blues landed another top-six forward in Brayden Schenn, a move that was also quite shrewd.

Overall, the Blues have been more trade-happy than the Bruins, especially when you consider some of the smart moves St. Louis made in trading people away.

Doug Armstrong made then-painful decisions to trade away the likes of Kevin Shattenkirk and Paul Stastny, while allowing then-captain David Backes to walk away to the Bruins. Where other NHL organizations might have made missteps in being too loyal to aging players, Armstrong showed discipline, and landed some draft assets in the cases of Shattenkirk and Stastny.

The Blues’ strong depth comes in part to trades, too. Getting Oskar Sundqvist from the Penguins for Ryan Reaves looks brilliant, and while Alexander Steen isn’t what he once was, that 2008 trade still makes some Maple Leafs fans cringe.

You can also credit Armstrong for trades he didn’t make. There were plenty of rumors swirling around Tarasenko and Pietrangelo being traded this season, but Armstrong kept his cool, and the Blues have been richly rewarded for sticking with them.

Free agent savvy

Again, if you ask me, the Blues’ success is as much about showing restraint as landing big free agent fish. Would they have the room to land O’Reilly’s $7.5M cap hit if they decided to pay Backes and/or Shattenkirk? Perhaps not.

But Armstrong’s had some success dipping into the pool.

David Perron seems to keep bouncing back and forth from St. Louis, yet he delivers, particularly for a dirt-cheap $4M per year. Patrick Maroon‘s been hit-or-miss, which really isn’t so bad for a buy-low free agent. Tyler Bozak‘s scored some big goals for the Blues during this run.

None of these players transformed the Blues like Zdeno Chara‘s signing did for the Bruins many moons ago, but Armstrong’s basically used the trade route to land free agent equivalents.

Naturally, big challenges lie ahead, with Binnington needing a new contract and Pietrangelo’s team-friendly deal expiring after next season.

Smart drafting

The Blues haven’t made mega-steals like landing Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron beyond the first round, but they’ve gotten some real gems, and aside from Alex Pietrangelo as the fourth pick in 2008, the Blues have found some great players beyond the more obvious portions of the first round.

The biggest year was probably 2010, when the Blues selected Jaden Schwartz with the 14th pick and Vladimir Tarasenko at number 16. (Coyotes, Stars, and Panthers fans will cringe especially hard at their teams’ picks before those two.)

St. Louis found some other hidden treasures, most notably snagging Colton Parayko with the 86th pick in 2012, along with finding Joel Edmundson and Vince Dunn as quality second-rounders. Robert Thomas looks like a rising commodity as the 20th pick of the 2017 NHL Draft, Matchbox 20 jokes and all.

They’ve also found value in moving on from a pick, as they used Tage Thompson (26th overall in 2016) to help land Ryan O’Reilly.

Both the Bruins and Blues consistently find players (sometimes impact ones) even though they’ve rarely had premium first-round picks, and sometimes when they lacked first-round picks altogether. Few franchises can make that argument, particularly with the frequency that the Blues and Bruins have managed.

Really, you don’t see it all that often in sports, period, and it’s allowed the Blues and Bruins (and Sharks) to persist as quality teams for longer than expected.

***

For all the Blues’ sustained success, both recently and when they once rattled off 25 consecutive playoff appearances, the focus has often been on unhappy endings.

This sustained run shines a spotlight on something that’s been murmured about before: Doug Armstrong has done what’s often been a masterful job putting this team together, and finding ways to keep the success going.

Armstrong’s shown a remarkable knack for mixing patience and discipline with the sort of decisiveness you need to make blockbuster trades and season-saving coaching changes. Whether the Blues finally win that first Stanley Cup or come up short again, Armstrong’s work deserves praise — and it wouldn’t be shocking if he found a way to make sure that St. Louis contends for years to come.

STANLEY CUP FINAL PREVIEW
Who has the better special teams?
Who has the better forwards?
Who has the better defensemen?
X-factors
PHT Power Rankings: Conn Smythe favorites
Stanley Cup Final 2019 schedule, TV info

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Bruins built Stanley Cup contender by doing everything well

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Leading up to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final (Monday, 8 p.m. ET, NBC), Pro Hockey Talk will be looking at every aspect of the matchup between the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues.

If there’s a central theme to how both the Bruins and Blues build themselves into 2019 Stanley Cup Finalists, it’s that you don’t need to tank to build a great team. That’s the comforting part for the NHL’s other 29 teams, not to mention the one soon to sprout up in Seattle.

The less-comforting news is that the process can be best labeled “Easier said than done.”

Both the Bruins and Blues have made shrewd free agent decisions, found stars outside of the “no-brainer” picks in drafts, and swindled other teams with fantastic trades. Neither team has been perfect, but they’ve piled up enough smart decisions to build regular contenders … and now here they are.

[NBC 2019 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

This two-part series looks at the key moves for both teams, from lopsided trades to finding gems in the draft, not to mention making crucial decisions in free agency.

Drafting

The Bruins have been a competitive team for a long time, which means they’re not often getting lottery picks in the draft, and they’re often trading away first-rounders or high-round picks to improve at the trade deadline. They didn’t have their first-rounder in 2018 or 2013, as the two latest examples.

With their most recent high picks traded away over the years (Dougie Hamilton [9th in 2011], Tyler Seguin [2nd in 2010], and Phil Kessel [5th in 2006]), it’s remarkable how much of their core comes from the mid-first round and later.

  • Patrice Bergeron was a second-rounder (45th overall) in 2003.
  • David Krejci was a second-rounder one year later (63rd in 2004).
  • The Bruins selected Brad Marchand in the third round (71st overall) during the same 2006 draft where they also snared Kessel and Milan Lucic.
  • The 2014 NHL Draft ended the Chiarelli era in style, most notably with Boston landing star David Pastrnak all the way at the 25th pick. Sorry Robby Fabbri, but the Blues would love a do-over at pick 21. That draft also included Ryan Donato, Danton Heinen, and Anders Bjork.
  • The 2015 NHL Draft is infamous in that new GM Don Sweeney didn’t just pass on Mathew Barzal; he passed on Barzal three times from picks 13-15. While Jake DeBrusk has become a gem worthy of the 14th pick, Bruins fans can drive themselves up the wall imagining this already-strong Bruins core with one or more of Barzal (16th), Kyle Connor (17th), Thomas Chabot (18th), and Brock Boeser (23rd). That said, the Bruins did find solid defenseman Brandon Carlo in the second round (37th overall) so that 2015 crop still harvested talent.
  • And Sweeney’s group really redeemed themselves a year later, snatching fantastic blueliner Charlie McAvoy with the 14th pick.

It’s honestly pretty mind-blowing to consider all of the talent the Bruins found over the years, particularly in the non-obvious spots, and particularly since they traded away the few non-obvious stars they did land on.

Boston also landed Torey Krug as an undrafted player, so they’ve found ways to add serious pieces with apt scouting.

(Hockey db’s draft history listing is a great resource if you want even more, but be warned: you might fall down a rabbit hole or two.)

Trades

Yes, Peter Chiarelli deserves some ridicule for trading away Tyler Seguin in what ended up being a huge boon for the Dallas Stars. Blake Wheeler‘s one of the Bruins other “What if?” players, as he put up solid numbers from 2008-09 to 2010-11 before becoming a star for the Thrashers-Jets.

Overall, the Bruins’ best work hasn’t necessarily come in trades, but there have been some wins.

The biggest one came long ago, as the Bruins landed Tuukka Rask in a trade for … Andrew Raycroft back in 2006. (That groan you heard came from Toronto.)

Via the Bruins website, enjoy this amusing explanation from interim Bruins GM (and current Rangers GM) Jeff Gorton.

“We had an opportunity, with three good, solid goaltenders who are all number one goalies in the NHL, and they couldn’t all play for us,” Gorton said. “Andrew had some value and we were able to move him for a player we really like, who is along the lines of Hannu Toivonen.”

Heh.

More recently, the Bruins traded for Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson, two deadline acquisitions who’ve scored some big goals during this playoff run after beginning their Boston run a little cold (and/or injured).

Mostly paying the right price in free agency

No doubt about it, landing Zdeno Chara as a free agent in 2006 was absolutely pivotal, and soothed some of the wounds from the Joe Thornton trade from 2005. Signing Chara ranks right up there with the most important moves of the last decade-plus.

As far as Sweeney’s run goes, things started off a lot like they did with the draft: a little bumpy.

The David Backes signing didn’t seem ideal when it happened in 2016, and that $6M price tag becomes a bigger drag with each passing season. That was an example of the Blues pulling off addition by subtraction.

Luckily, the Bruins have mostly avoided such setbacks. They wisely parted ways with Milan Lucic rather than signing him to a deal that’s become a nightmare for the Oilers. The addition of Jaroslav Halak was also very helpful when Tuukka Rask was struggling a bit earlier in 2018-19.

Really, the Bruins have done their best free agent work in locking up core players to team-friendly deals.

The biggest bargains come with the big three. Bergeron’s cap hit of $6.875M is almost insulting to the two-way star, and while he’s 33, the aging curve doesn’t seem too threatening with the deal running out after 2021-22. (Even if he hits a wall, the Bruins have been making out like bandits for long enough for it to be beyond worth it.)

Brad Marchand must regret licking the envelope* when he signed the deal that locked him to a ridiculous $6.125M cap hit through 2024-25. At 31, Marchand might eventually decline enough for that to be a problem, but he’s delivering at such a rate that most of the NHL should really envy the Bruins’ bargain.

* – Sorry.

The best deal might actually be for David Pastrnak, whose satanic $6.66M cap hit sure feels like a deal with the non-New Jersey devil. Pastrnak’s more or less a $10M forward making that discount rate, and the 23-year-old won’t need a new deal until after the 2022-23 season.

Getting the best line in hockey for less than $20M per year is honestly kind of absurd, and other contracts (beyond Backes) don’t really drag the team down, either. Trade rumors have swirled around Krejci and Rask for years, yet both are fairly paid, and their deals don’t really look like problems at all.

There’s probably a mixture of luck and timing to explain some of these bargains, but the bottom line is that the Bruins have been able to keep their core pieces together without breaking that bank. Doing so allows them to supplement those top players with the Charlie Coyle and Jaroslav Halak-type electrons who really boost this impressive nucleus.

If there’s any lesson to other teams, it’s to try to be proactive whenever possible when it comes to locking down your best players. Again, “Easier said than done.”

(As always, Cap Friendly served as a key resource for salary structure and contract information.)

Coach Cassidy

There was at least a slight fear that, when Claude Julien left the Bruins, it felt like an end of an era. Would the Bruins take a step back?

Nope. Instead, Bruce Cassidy’s been a breath of fresh of air for Boston. The Bruins remain a stout defensive team, and have been able to integrate young players into their system in fairly seamless ways. That’s a testament to Cassidy, who seems willing to innovate, as you can see from this piece from The Athletic’s Fluto Shinzawa (sub required).

As bright as Julien can be, it sure seems like Cassidy’s taken the Bruins to another level, or maybe a crucially different level. Either way, he’s been a stunning success so far.

***

To circle back, it hasn’t been one move, or even one type of moves that’s powered the Bruins’ success.

Instead, it’s about getting a lot of things right, from crucial decisions to smaller tweaks. It’s also important not to attribute the success to Don Sweeney alone, or even his staff, as key pieces were also put in place by Chiarelli and even Gorton.

It’s all easier said than done, but the Bruins have been doing a lot right, and for a long time. We’ll see if that hard work pays off in a second Stanley Cup for the core they’ve built during the past decade-and-a-half.

STANLEY CUP FINAL PREVIEW
Who has the better special teams?
Who has the better forwards?
Who has the better defensemen?
X-factors
PHT Power Rankings: Conn Smythe favorites
Stanley Cup Final 2019 schedule, TV info

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Home sweet home: NHL execs flock back to familiar franchises

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NEW YORK (AP) — Martin Brodeur has been back with the New Jersey Devils for eight months and only walked by his statue once. It’s harder to avoid his banner hanging from the arena rafters.

Brodeur returning to the place he spent the majority of his career sparked a recent run of executives going home to work for organizations they’re synonymous with. Steve Yzerman last month went back to Detroit as Red Wings general manager. In the past week, John Davidson became New York Rangers president and Mike Modano went back to his Minnesota playing roots as Wild adviser.

Yzerman, Davidson and Modano don’t have to avoid statues but do have to balance being beloved by their respective fan bases with the new pressure of succeeding in the front office. There are plenty of recent examples of fan favorite homecomings that didn’t work out: Pat LaFontaine in Buffalo, Ron Hextall in Philadelphia, Trevor Linden in Vancouver, Ron Francis in Carolina and Patrick Roy in Colorado are among them.

Still, the lure of going home is always strong.

”All the things with my banner in the rafters and my statue, this is what I did as a hockey player, but now I’m trying to leave my mark in a different way,” Brodeur said. ”I came back because I care about the success and the fans and the area. Regardless, you still feel the pressure because you want to do well. I’m a proud guy. I’m investing my time in this organization and I want to see them do well.”

While Brodeur and Modano are business-focused now, fellow Hockey Hall of Famer Yzerman and Hall-honored broadcaster Davidson are right in the fire of trying to rebuild proud franchises into championship contenders.

Yzerman won the Stanley Cup three times as Red Wings captain and is back in Hockeytown after eight years as Tampa Bay Lightning GM and another as an adviser. His family still lives in Michigan, he was tired of commuting and he considers the link to his playing days ”irrelevant” in undertaking this challenge .

”What I did as a player is done,” said Yzerman, who will work in the shadow of his No. 19 banner. ”I can’t do any more, good or bad. It really has no bearing on whether I’m a good general manager or not. I have a job to do.”

Davidson understands he has a tough job ahead to try to deliver the Rangers’ first title since 1994. After 13 seasons in St. Louis and Columbus gave him executive experience, parts of eight seasons as a Rangers goaltender and two more decades as team broadcaster before all that drew him back.

”I was here 28 years in a lot of different areas and that makes it a whole lot easier,” Davidson said after his introductory news conference Wednesday. ”I wouldn’t have left Columbus had I not been here originally and had a sense of home, a sense of people welcoming myself and our family back. …. It’s just this is a unique opportunity at a very unique time.”

When Davidson and wife Diana walked the streets of New York on Tuesday night, she turned to him and said, ”Doesn’t this just feel like we didn’t leave?” Thirteen years after leaving the broadcast booth to embark on a journey that has made him one of hockey’s most respected executives, he felt the same way.

Davidson was welcomed home like a conquering hero.

”There’s a lot of good feeling because John is a beloved person here in New York,” longtime broadcast partner Sam Rosen said. ”He was loved when he was a player, he was loved as a broadcaster and people now respect that he’s been a lead executive in the National Hockey League for more than a decade.”

Minnesota is in Modano’s blood after he was the North Stars’ first overall pick in 1988 and played there until the team moved to Dallas in 1993. Post-retirement, Modano spent three seasons as a Dallas Stars adviser, and while this isn’t the same franchise he played for, he’s excited to get back to where his NHL career started.

”It’s always been obviously a real sentimental thing for me, an emotional thing for me to start my career in Minneapolis and St. Paul back in the North Star era,” Modano said Thursday. ”I have a lot of fond memories with fans and friends and everybody involved in the hockey community there.”

Modano will work with owner Craig Leipold, who heralded the Hall of Fame center as ”an important part of our hockey culture in this state.”

The same is true of Brodeur in New Jersey after he backstopped the Devils to the Stanley Cup three times. His job as executive vice president of business operations is about as far away from the pressure cooker of tending goal as Brodeur can get, and it follows three hands-on seasons as Blues assistant GM.

”I went from my playing career right into hockey operations as an assistant GM, so the pressure and the day to day operations was always big,” said Brodeur, who sold his old house to Devils coach John Hynes and rents while traveling back and forth to St. Louis. ”You figure from the first day I walk into the NHL to last year, for me, every game, you get the mood swings, you got everything. I was kind of looking forward to kind of sit back and just kind of look at the big picture instead of the daily grind. It’s been a great change for me and for me family to be able to handle that.”

Hall of Fame defenseman Brian Leetch, who won the Cup with the 1994 Rangers and returned as an adviser, isn’t worried about the heavy expectations on Davidson or Yzerman to make the most of a second act.

”Steve Yzerman, John Davidson – any of these people that are in these positions that are successful, they put the pressure on themselves to be successful and to have a positive impact,” Leetch said. ”As much as there is outside pressure from media and the big city and fans, it’s really internal.”

AP Hockey Writer Larry Lage in Detroit contributed.

Follow AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno

More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Bruins’ veteran quintet could be key in latest Cup bid

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BOSTON (AP) — When the Boston Bruins take the ice against the St. Louis Blues, they will do it with a core group of veterans who know what it’s like to hoist the Stanley Cup – and have it slip from their fingers.

Patrice Bergeron can still remember the instant euphoria and accompanying adoration from across New England that came after the Bruins outlasted the Vancouver Canucks in seven games to win the Cup in 2011.

He just as easily recalls the emptiness in 2013 when the Bruins lost the final in six games to the Chicago Blackhawks.

”I think it makes you appreciate and makes you understand how hard it is to get to this point,” Bergeron said.

He is one of five current Bruins that were on both of those teams, along with Brad Marchand, Tuukka Rask, David Krejci and Zdeno Chara. Apart from Chara, who was 33 in 2011, Bergeron, Krejci, Marchand and Rask were all in their 20s during both runs. Defenseman Torey Krug was as a member of the ’13 team that came up short, arriving the season after Boston won it in 2011.

Nine years later Chara is now 42 and the 20-somethings are now grizzled NHL veterans as they prepare to take on the Blues.

It’s cast them all in the leadership role for another youthful and hungry Bruins team, built with many players about to experience this stage for the first time with Game 1 coming up Monday night.

It’s a position they have all willingly accepted.

Chara said this season has been a great teaching tool for them.

”It takes a lot to just get into the playoffs,” Chara said. ”We saw a lot of our games went to Game 7. First round. Second round. You have to realize how special it is to be in the final and what it takes. At the same time, you haven’t accomplished anything. You haven’t won anything.”

St. Louis coach Craig Berube knows the Bruins are deep and the veteran players are a key part of the team.

”Chara is still a good player, he’s a force out there, a big guy and he’s difficult to play against,” Berube said. ”Overall, their team’s a skilled and fast team and their goalie has played extremely well so far in the playoffs.”

Boston coach Bruce Cassidy, who is in his second season leading the B’s. He struggled in his first go-around as a head coach in Washington, going 47-47-9 over two seasons from 2002 to 2004.

The past two seasons in Boston, Cassidy said, he has gone from being apprehensive about speaking up around his best players to setting an agenda and then leaning on his veterans in the locker room to help implement it.

”I think this leadership group is second to none,” Cassidy said. ”I don’t know if I’ll ever have – wherever this career takes me – a group like this to work with. I said that since probably the second week of our job here. These guys are fantastic, and they sure make a coach’s job a lot easier.”

Though he has a reputation of letting his anger get the best of him at times, Marchand said he’s going into his third Cup final with Boston as even-keeled as ever.

”I think when you’re part of a team like that you expect it to last a long time,” he said. ”You don’t realize how one change in a team can really drastically affect how things play out. One player change. One injury. One call. You don’t realize what it takes to get back to the finals and how fortunate you are to get there.

”And so this time around I think I’m more appreciative of being here and at the same time more calm, I guess, in a way.”

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