In summary, if they followed my recommendations, the Hawks would be protecting: Lankinen, Keith, Seabrook, Murphy, Toews, Kane, DeBrincat, Gaudette, Borgstrom, Hagel, and Strome.
Rather than repeat the exercise for the second option of 8 Skaters, 1 Goalie, I would protect:
Toews, Kane, Keith, Seabrook, DeBrincat, Murphy, Hagel, Borgstrom, and Lankinen. I might swap Gaudette for Borgstrom, but that would be the only question mark for me.
The interesting part of this exercise to me is that you have to try and read the minds of the front office and coaching staff, delving into the short and long-term strategies they are executing. You also have to start thinking about what the Kraken would want, and where you can take risks in leaving players unprotected while maintaining a solid chance of keeping them if you want them.
Hopefully, you enjoyed going through this with me. I would love to know where you disagree with me, and who you would protect in the place of the disputed player. The Hawks have some important decisions to make this offseason; Expansion Draft, Entry Draft, Restricted and Unrestricted Free Agency, and Roster Decisions. It all gets started in a little over a month when they have to turn their list into the league.
"Chicago Blackhawks: Five prospects to get excited about"
From that point, the team picture of the 2021-2022 Chicago Blackhawks will start to come into focus. I will be watching carefully.