The NHL has changed quite a bit since the last expansion draft, but the most recent version of this event could tell us some of what to expect later this year
NHL expansion drafts weren’t the rarity back in the day that they are now. When the Vegas Golden Knights select a player from each of the league’s 30 teams, they’ll be the first to fill a roster in this way since 2000, when the Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets did so.
But even before then, it was easy to recall the last time an expansion draft occurred. In 1999, the Atlanta Thrashers (now the Winnipeg Jets) saw their team filled via expansion draft. The year before, the Nashville Predators went through the same process. In 1993, the Florida Panthers and Mighty Ducks of Anaheim underwent the same process.
Other semi-recent NHL expansion drafts took place in 1992 (Ottawa, Tampa Bay) and 1991 (San Jose, with a dispersal draft involving the Sharks and Minnesota North Stars). Before that, there was another 10-plus-year break between expansion drafts, the previous one before 1991 happening in 1979 (Edmonton, Hartford, Quebec and Winnipeg).
So that’s some fun history of the expansion draft. But today, we’re going to take a look back at the most-recent expansion draft to see which type of players were selected and even exposed to the draft.
Rules for the 2000 expansion draft
Back when the Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets needed to fill their rosters, the league had them pick two players from each of 26 teams. The Thrashers and Predators had all players protected as a result of being so new to the league.
Options for the 26 teams as far as protecting players were:
— One goaltender, five defensemen and nine forwards
— Two goaltenders, three defensemen and seven forwards
There were also games-played requirements as far as who could be exposed and who couldn’t, just as there are in this year’s expansion draft. This year, it’s seven forwards, three defensemen and a goaltender or eight skaters and a goaltender.
Looking back at the 2000 expansion draft
When you go through the list of players who were taken, it becomes clear how much the NHL has changed.
The very first guy selected, by the Blue Jackets, was Rick Tabaracci. The goaltender played all of 286 regular-season NHL games between seven NHL teams between 1989 and 2000, finishing with a 93-125-30 record.
There were some decent early selections in this draft, though. Goaltenders Mike Vernon (Minnesota, third), Dwayne Roloson (Columbus, fifth) and Chris Terreri (Minnesota, sixth), as well as defenseman Sean O’Donnell (Minnesota, seventh), were some familiar names taken.
There were a limited number of recognizable names the rest of the way, though. Guys I recognized by name were defenseman Jamie Pushor (648 penalty minutes in 521 games), defenseman Filip Kuba (333 points in 836 games), center Jim Dowd (239 points in 728 games) and winger Dallas Drake (477 points in 1,009 games).
Maybe there’s other guys you may recognize — here’s the full draft list. But overall, it’s such a disappointing list. You have the feeling very few rosters, if any, were brutally affected by this expansion draft.
The Blackhawks gave up defenseman Radim Bicanek and center Jeff Daw in this draft. Bicanek tallied 12 points in 122 career games, while Daw played all of one career NHL game. Though on an interesting note, there was an
taken by Minnesota from the Philadelphia Flyers. He was a defenseman who primarily played in Russia.
So that’s a glance back at the 2000 expansion draft. It’s hard to imagine this year’s draft being as disappointing as the last one, as a lot of NHL rosters were stocked with no-name guys and a few goons. There will no doubt be some names this year, beyond goaltenders, who aren’t just filler for NHL rosters.