The Buffalo Sabres now have another problem facing them in the upcoming off season, and that is who will they protect if they are faced with an expansion draft for one or two teams entering the National Hockey League in 2014?
Right now Gary Bettman is pushing for at least one team to enter the league in 2014 – with Seattle being the rumored front runner.
Obviously what plays out this year will weigh heavily on the teams decisions on who to protect to maintain.
The last NHL expansion draft saw the Buffalo Sabres lose four players – all to the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 200 expansion draft. Goalie Dwayne Roloson and forward Geoff Sanderson were selected by Columbus to start playing. The Buffalo Sabres also traded Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre and Matt Davidson to the Columbus Blue Jackets during the expansion draft. Buffalo also sent two fifth round draft picks to the Blue Jackets. Minnesota selected no members of the Buffalo Sabres organization.
In the 2000 draft, teams were allowed to protect either one goaltender, five defensemen, and nine forwards or two goaltenders, three defensemen, and seven forwards. At least one defenseman and two forwards left unprotected had to have appeared in a certain number of NHL games the previous season.
It is still a year away – but who is going to be protected by the Buffalo Sabres?